Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hot Noodle Soup for a Chilly Day


A sudden chill has crept in lately, accompanied with nighttime rain showers and wind gusts during the daytime. There's plenty of summer still left, I'm sure, but this dip in temperatures has my mind turning towards thoughts of autumn.

I spent the better part of this morning making various adjustments to my bike to better fit me and how I ride. After having accomplished that, I decided to finally set up my mirror and an area where I can easily take casual outfit snaps. While I would love to be able to take my big camera and tripod outside all the time, that's not always practical and some days I'm just not wearing anything special enough to warrant that much effort. Luckily, I found a nicely-sized mirror that is nice in its simple form and that I can spruce up when I find the right inspiration and materials.

I then went out to meet with A+ to look in various bicycle shops near his work. As it turns out, they're all part of the same shop, just with four different buildings serving different purposes. We found a new, hopefully more comfortable, saddle for my bike, as well as a small canister of chain oil, which both our bikes need badly.

To finish off our jaunt, we wandered to a lovely little Asian fusion noodle shop for dinner. I had a deliciously creamy avocado bubble tea and a pho with beef brisket, tripe, and tendons. I don't eat meat often, so I try to pick special things when I do. I was very happily not disappointed at all with my choice, as it was very flavorful and delicious!

To top the evening off, A+ and I took a nice walk back to the other side of the bus route loop. We passed a courtyard area with a lot of currently blooming flowers. I'd very much like to go back there at some point to take some photos of the plants.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Big Terrace Chair


A+ has been learning how to ride a bike (he never had the chance to when he was younger), and recently has gotten more confident with his practicing. Unfortunately, we've had only one bike between the two of us, which makes biking together impossible. We decided to address this issue by finally going to buy a second bike. To celebrate our success, we went on a short little bike ride together!

We ended up at the student union where they have a really nice terrace with restaurants and places to sit next to the lake and various piers. I had never really hung out here before, so it was really fun to see everyone just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather. We decided to get some ice cream to enjoy while we sat and rested.

And of course I had to climb up onto one of the iconic Big Terrace Chairs.

The sky and the water were particularly pretty today, and the wind gave the water a fun texture, although maybe less fun for the people trying to sail or windsurf out there. The clouds were also gorgeous! They're exactly the type of clouds I have in my mind whenever I try to draw or paint sky. More inspiration to practice!

Riding together was so much fun, I hope we can do this a lot more often before the weather turns cold!

On an amusing last note, as we were riding home into a strong headwind, A+ commented that it was a good thing I was wearing bloomers. I found that particularly funny in this context given that the original impetus for inventing bloomers was so that ladies could ride bicycles without being immodest!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Perfect Color for a Best Friend


I have very strong color associations with people, particularly those that I am close to and know very well. And I found some beautiful bamboo yarn that was just the perfect color for my best friend. She gave me the most wonderful painted egg (using traditional Ukrainian techniques) in the form of a Munna for my birthday, so I wanted to make her something just as nice for hers.

I decided to go with a light spring/summer scarf, because the bamboo yarn was so delicate and lightweight I couldn't see it working for a heavier item. I just made up the pattern as I went, doing basically a feather fan lace pattern with seed stitch edging all around.

I'm absolutely in love with how the knit feels, and will definitely think of more things to knit using bamboo yarns in the future.

The feather fan lace turned out better than I expected considering how improvised it was, and it gave a beautiful texture both on the "right" and the "wrong" sides of the scarf.

I most often knit winter items because I adore chunky woolly yarns, but this project has definitely convinced me to think about lighter knitting projects for warmer weather!

The best part of it all was that when I gave it to her and told her that it was "her" color, she told me that it was the exact color she always chose in the color picker when she was young and just doodling around in Paint. So it in fact is exactly her color!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Just Braiding My Garlic


Before the last winter, A+ planted a few cloves of garlic in hopes that they would eventually grow and produce lots of fresh garlic for us. Luckily, his experiment succeeded abundantly, and we ended up with a harvest of about 18 heads of garlic!

While not all of them were in a proper condition for drying and preserving for later use and/or planting in the fall, we did manage to get a dozen in decent shape. I was really excited to try braiding them together, because that just seemed like both a practical but also beautifully quaint way of preserving garlic.

After messing about with various hook and string and clothesline arrangements, we decided that it would be better to go with smaller bunches of garlic because we didn't want anything being too heavy and either breaking hooks or pulling them out of the wall. Falling garlics no good! Thus, the final arrangement of two braids, with six heads of garlic each.

It was quite a process preparing the garlics for braiding, because we needed to cut off the roots and remove the outermost layer of skin (mainly for cleanliness). Then I realized that we had let the garlics sit a bit too long and thus the stems had gotten rather dry and stiff. We ended up laying a soaked towel over them for a good 3 - 4 hours before they got soft enough to braid.

But, braid the garlics, I did!


We hung both bunches in the kitchen, one near the stove and one above an extended counter area. I'm really looking forward to having our own garlic to eat in the coming months. I just hope the bigger ones will keep well enough to be used to plant more this fall!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Visiting the Farmers' Market


The weather was absolutely beautiful, and just perfect for visiting the Farmers' Market. While we can hardly keep up with all the produce coming from our own little garden, it still seemed like a fun idea to go and take a look at everything being sold. A+ was particularly interested in finding some cheese, and I always enjoy looking at all the baked goods and pickled items.

I wore my sailor dress, because it always strikes me as being more of a summery theme, but I don't like to wear it on days when I might sweat excessively due to heat or activity.

OP ~ Innocent World
Hat ~ Forever21
Shoes ~ Converse

We found parking next to a kindergarten, and happened to be right in front of this cute red VW Beetle with a coordinating Betty Boop sunscreen. I think it's lovely when people coordinate their cars and car accessories. Plus, Beetles are just so spherical!

There were so many baked goods being sold, but what stood out the most to me was a big sign for potato buttermilk donuts. I'd never heard of this particular variety of donut before and had to try one. It had a denser texture than other types of donuts I've had, and tasted like a sweet, somewhat fried bread. A+ thought it "tasted like Passover" if that might be more informative for some.

The vegetables being sold were all beautiful and pristine. In fact it looked like some of them had peeled the outer layer off their onions and then polished them, they were so clean and shiny. There was also a funny fellow selling giant dried gourds, and so many stands selling beautiful cut flowers and bouquets. In the end, A+ found his cheese, and I discovered a new applesauce to try.

It was a lovely time wandering among all the vendors at the market, and I'll definitely want to go back and see what gets sold as the seasons start changing. Perhaps next week we will try biking to the market instead of driving!