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October 2006

Knit TV

Hubby is out enjoying his first night of vacation. I'm happy to stay in and knit and put my feet up. Smokey bars don't sound too appealing to me right now.  I've started a pair of Opera Gloves and they are coming out very nicely. Maybe I'll have them done before we leave this Friday, on verra... Excuse the crappiness of this photo. Camera phone + Internet = easy!

Opera gloves

My knitting TV of choice tonight is Grey's Anatomy, yet again!! I like Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey's characters. He reminds me of my husband. I have my very own McDreamy. :) And it looks like Meredith has taken up knitting to replace men.  Does that really work? ;)

McDreamy and Meredith as she knits in a bar

McDreamy: As a friend, I gotta tell you that you look a little weird...

Meredith:
I'm knitting a sweater...

Bartender:  You're knitting in a bar, you can't knit in a bar, you're scaring the customers.

Meredith:  I'm knitting for surgical dexterity

All I have to say it makes for good knitting TV. :)


Fille ou garçon?

So, you're probably wondering if we're having a girl or a boy? Last week was the longest week ever, anticipating something like this is something I can hardly put to words.  Our doctor brought us in exceptionally because we are getting ready to leave for the US for a month and he wanted to see us to make sure all was well and to take a peek to see what we were going to have.  When he asked if we wanted to know we both chimed in "Oh, oui, Docteur!" and giggled. The baby was active and making it hard for the doctor to find what he was looking for and then all of a sudden he announces, " Et la, je vois un zizi!" Julien and I looked at each other and bursted out in laughter.  Tears followed for me.  We were both convinced that we were having a girl. I think it was because of how sick I was and Julien thought having an the oldest be a girl would genial. Though being the oldest of five I would have loved to have had an older brother. And as for names,  Julien and I have been talking about baby names since the beginning of our relationship. We never doubted that we'd have children.  Lately I had been re-thinking the girl's name we had chosen but the boy's name we were absolutely sure donc ca tombe bien!!
 

So, a weekend tranquille a la maison since in less than a week we'll be boarding a plane.  We stayed in last night catching up on Lost and Grey's Anatomy all the while I cranked out the Phildar baby sweater:

La Brassiere and L'echarpe No. 6 from Phildar Tricotez Calin

Button snaps and detail of Bowling from Phildar Sleeve detail The back or the front?

Pattern: La Brassiere and L'Echarpe No. 6  from Phildar Tricotez Calin
Size:
6 months (sweater); One size fits all (Scarf)
Yarn:
Oxyene color Emeraude (sweater)           
              Bowling in Folk & Partner in Petunia (Scarf)
Needles:
5.5 mm & 6.5 mm
Started:
October 20, 2006
Finished:
October 28, 2006

I can happily say that I think I've gotten over my fear of Phildar patterns and sewing sweater parts. It took me a couple false starts but seaming stockinette and garter stitch are very easy!  Sewing on snaps on the other hand, I don't like at all.  If I make this again, I'm going to add button holes.  The scarf was just an added bonus, I fell in love with how it looked on the baby on the cover of Tricotez Calin.  So, this will be put in the mail next week and hopefully the recipient hasn't already grown out of it! :)

Since security is tight I doubt that I will be doing any knitting on the plane. I've planned on checking  some needles in my bag and knitting something for myself while visiting friends.   Probably a scarf or a  shawl like the Clapotis. I'm probably the only knitter who hasn't knit this yet. :)  The gloom of Paris winter is creeping up on us and there isn't anything more motivating to knit than just that.


Maybe...

Tonight we have a doctor's appointment to make sure all is well before our trip the US. We'll be gone for a month and my doctor wanted to see us before we left.  I have to say I love my doctor. This is the first time I've met a doctor in France that has wonderful bedside manner.   And who genuinely remembers who I am every time I come in. And perhaps during this routine check up we'll be able to find out the sex of our baby.  A friend mentioned when she went in for her visit to find out the sex of her baby, the doctor poked at her stomach to wake the baby up so she'd flip over. I think I'll be okay with that if our baby happens to be snoozin' away.  I promise this will be the only time I wake a sleeping baby. :)  I am really anxious to know!   A lot of people have mentioned they think I'm having a girl including my husband.   We'll soon see for ourselves!

And finally last night I think I felt the baby move though it could have been gas. I'm not sure what I'm really feeling for. I was laying down falling asleep when I felt a slight tap on my left side of my abdomen. So, maybe, baby?



Banana Banana Bread et La Brassiere

Banana Banana Bread and La Brassiere

If you get close enough to the computer screen maybe you'll be able to smell how good this banana banana bread is!  Are you sick of all the baking I've done?  I know my husband isn't. :) It's also helped to pass time while I'm knitting. Knitting and baking, hmmm what a novel idea?

So, you see up there that's my Phildar sweater. Remember how I said I was going to kick some Phildar butt? Those confusing 1 x 2, 2 x 5 decreases have been explained to me by the lovely Tres Chic VeroniqueMerci!   And Michele pointed me towards a French knitters forum which helped to iron out any other questions I had.  I'm hoping to have this little brassiere done by the end of the week. It's for my friend who's just had a baby girl. Check out the cuteness this sweater will be:

Tricotez Calin

I've also made the scarf that's in the picture. What a fun excuse to use that funky Phildar Bowling!

And here's the recipe for the banana bread :

INGREDIENTS

    * 2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt
    * 1/2 cup butter
    * 3/4 cup brown sugar
    * 2 eggs, beaten
    * 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

I didn't have enough banana, I had three and half and probably needed two more to make the 2 1/3 cups needed for the recipe. I substituted with a pot of compote de poire williams and it worked like a charm.  Also I used a different pan and my bake time was cut by about 20 minutes. 

Happy knitting and baking... I'm off to have a piece of banana bread and curl up on the couch with my cheri d'amour.

*edit* I highly suggest using apple sauce or pear sauce with chunks of fruit for the banana bread recipe. It really made for a moist bread with delightful little chunks of fruit.  Nothing like fruit cake, I'd never do wish that on anymore. Ew. :)


From Olathe* to Paris

“We don’t have mountains or oceans, but we have some of the greatest people.”

I've heard myself say this to people when I'm describing where I was from.  I'm from the city that my father was born and raised in. If I hadn't met Julien, I'd probably still be living there.  And I'm totally okay with that because Olathe is an amazing place.  Diverse communities, excellent schools, wonderful people all in the heart of America.  Though Paris is my home now, Olathe is the place I visit when I go "home". I left five years ago and could feel Olathe starting to grow beyond it's boundaries. And every year we go back to visit I am amazed at how the city has grown.  Remembering when Woodland was a dirt road that went out to your grandma's house and now it's 4 lane street with lights!  This article I ran across from the New York times describes my stomping grounds well and perhaps will show you that Kansas is a little more than Wizard of OZ and Smallville.  The article talks a lot about the growing pains that Olathe is experiencing right now but it's probably similar to what cities like New York and even Paris once experienced back in the day.   They also mention that in the 1980's the population of Olathe tripled. My parents  helped by bringing in 5 kids into the world at the old Olathe medical center in old Olathe. :)

Living in a city now that's older than the country I am from is an extraordinary feeling.  Walking the streets and seeing history that has lasted through time makes me love this city even more.  What is equally amazing is to see my hometown grow and make history of it's own before my own eyes.  I can't wait to "go home" in November to see my O-town buddies and check out how the place has changed. 

* Olathe is pronounced Oh-lay-the.


Cakes and Dumplings

Of cakes...

Cake au Citron

Cake au Citron

Cake au citron

Ingrédients :
- 200 g de farine,
- 150 g de beurre,
- 100 g de sucre,
- 4 oeufs,
- 2 citrons non traités,
- 1 sachet de levure.
Préparation :
1 - Faites fondre le beurre (bain-marie ou four micro-ondes)
2 - Mélangez les oeufs et le sucre jusqu'à ce que le mélange blanchisse, puis ajoutez la farine petit à petit et ensuite la levure. Mélangez bien et ajoutez le beurre fondu.
3 - Lavez les citrons et pressez en le jus et ajoutez le à la pâte.
4 - Prélevez le zeste des deux citrons, coupez les en petits morceaux et ajoutez ces morceaux à la pâte.
5 - Mélangez bien la pâte et versez dans un moule à cake et faites cuire 45 mn a 180 degree Celsius.

My kitchen smells lemon-y sweet and so will yours!  Enjoy!

and Dumplings...

FO: Ribbon Twist Cardigan (Dumpling) from Rowan Babies

FO: Ribbon Twist Cardigan from Rowan Babies Detail of toggle buttons Detail of Rowan Ribbon Twist

Pattern: Dumpling from Rowan Babies.
Size: 6-12mos
Yarn: Rowan Ribbon Twist in shade 113.
Needles: Clover 10mm (adjusted from 12mm  to get gauge)
Time: One week
Recipient: Our baby! :)

This sweater was a real joy to knit and I'm very happy with the way it turned out.  I'm hoping that our baby will be able to wear it next winter as he/she will be 6 months old. The buttons were a suggestion by the lady who works the Rowan counter at Le BM. The toggles work well with the chunky yarn as the pattern doesn't call for button holes. I got to hang out with Felix and his mamma yesterday and he happily tried on Dumpling for me. The sweater was a wee bit short on him as Felix is 10 months old now and as tall as a one year old! Doesn't he did look dashing?

Felix tries on my Ribbon Twist cardigan

Currently on the needles, Trellis from Knitty and Une Brassiere pour Bébé (sweater on the book cover) from Phildar Tricotez Cålin.  I am going to get over my fear of French patterns by conquering a baby sweater!  I think I finally understand all the  1 x 3, 2 x 5 business! :)


**edit** I've put up a rough conversion of the grams to cups for the Lemon cake as requested. Check the comments below... :)


It's growing...

I've been feeling pretty sick the last couple days. Severe nausea like I had in the beginning stages of pregnancy and throwing up.  I haven't been able to keep anything down but crackers and some juice.  I hope this passes soon. Julien says that I'm busy making something important. I think the baby is surfing waves in my belly and giving me motion sickness. :) 

I've continued on my knitting spree and have started two more baby sweaters. This just might be my thing to knit. I love how fast I can make these and am able to experiment with some yarns that I normally wouldn't use for myself. I've started a Chunky baby cardigan called Dumpling that's knit in one piece except for the sleeves from Rowan Babies.  I'm using Ribbon twist in a lovely grey blue color with a light colored ribbon woven through. Though it looks more grey here, I'll surely take better photos later. I love the stitch definition of the Ribbon Twist. Again, I'd probably never knit myself anything this bulky but for a baby should be trés mignon.

 

Ribbon Twist Baby Cardigan from Rowan

I love the cowl neck. I've had to modify the sleeves a bit to  make them a bit wider. I tried them out on my friend's daughter who is 3 months old and they were a bit tight. I'm hoping to have this sweater done tonight. There are no button holes because the Ribbon Twist is so chunky that you can make your own button hole in between the stitches. Easy peasy, I like that!  With this sweater I've learned to do three needle bind off as well. Must say anything to avoid sewing is awesome! ;)

 

And, I have a shot of my growing belly. I'm actually very surprised how big it looks here but I think it's the combination of the white tank top I'm wearing and the angle. I shot this because just that morning my husband told me that my belly had passed my breasts and I really looked pregnant.  C'est moi a 16 semaines. Next week, we find out the sex of the baby. I had a stranger today on the bus tell me that she thought it as a girl. My Korean girlfriend says because I've been craving fruits lately that it's a girl. What do you think we'll be having? Either way, we're excited! A little boy or a little girl... either would just be wonderful.


 

16 weeks

Finally, I wanted to shout out to my friend, Vivi, who's in the US right now. I love you, darling and I'm thinking of you.


**edit** 00:23: Frenzy knitting while watching Grey's Anatomy and the Ribbon Twist cardie is done! It's so cute. I'll be sewing on buttons tomorrow and hopefully my friend's son will model it off for me. I'm off to bed...


Cravings

Cravings is what every woman goes through while pregnant. I've heard the stories of women wanting to eat the cliché cravings of things like pickles and ice cream.  My dad said my mom really loved eating steak and kimchee while pregnant, not together, I think?  Well, a craving hit me tonight. I really wanted to eat potatoes, chicken and carrots. Smashed together. So, for dinner that's just what I had. My husband looked at me sideways as I made dinner. I was madly dashing around the kitchen trying to make everything so that the growl in my stomach would soon be put to sleep. I don't know what it is but I crave healthy food and milk these days.  My gourmandise taste buds have disappeared (probably for the better). I don't like chocolate anymore. Not in the mood for cookies or pastries.  But I think my husband has sympathy cravings and his are all things gourmand.   So, to appease his cravings I made him a crumble aux fruits rouges (that's pronounced crum-bull).  My husband literally becomes a crazy person when raspberries are put in front of his face.  I think most of my friends here in Paris have witnessed this. And imagine his delight when he found out that a raspberry liquor existed. Chambord. Yes, like the chateau and us Americans know this liquor well as it's only exclusively exported for the foreign market but made it France near the Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley.  Ask any French person and they will say, "Le Chateau?"  OK, enough Chamord... more crumble:

Crumble fruits rouges (pre-four)

Crumble fruits rouges (Post-four)

You can use any fruit you like. The next one I make will be a chocolate banana crumble. One of my students tells me that it's "trop bon" and that I have to try it. Here's the recipe for the pate a crumble:

- 100g de farine
- 100g de sucre
- 75g de poudre d'amandes
- 100g de beurre froid
- 6 pincées de cannelle en poudre
- 3 pincées de sel

Prechauffe four a 210 degrees Celsius

Laisser cuire 25 a 30 minutes

Enjoy.


La mode bébé

As promised here are photos of the baby cardigan that I finished this week for our future bout de chou.  This was a good lesson in sweater construction for me and helped me get over my fear of sewing sweater parts.  The pattern is from Knitting for two by Erica Knight which was graciously on long term loan to me from a good friend (Thanks, Ronica!!).  I happened to have the yarn the pattern called for in my stash (don't you love when that happens?) and was able to finish little little pull de bébé in about two days time.  The sewing took another couple days to make sure I got it right and then I had to find the perfect buttons to match.  I ended up choosing some olive tree wooden buttons. 

Chunky Baby Cardigan

I have a skein and half left over so I intend on making matching booties.  This baby will be rockin' Rowan at the maternité.

And yesterday we had an impromptu baby shower for a new little knotlet, Louise and I was finally able to gift her the cotton dress I finished a few weeks ago.

La robe de Louise

I used Plassard Gong 100% Cotton in a lovely aubergine color.  And found some very cute print fabric at Ikea of all places for the shoulder straps.  The pattern comes from Tricot pour les Bébés and this was my first successful French pattern I've knit to date.

The knitting bug has come back and I've found a new love for knitting baby clothes.  So, question to the knitters out there what baby patterns are you or have you knit lately?  I'm thinking about getting this book because I have such easy access to Debbie Bliss yarns here in Paris.  I'm heading state side in about three weeks and will be looking for some sweet new yarns while I'm home.  What new yarns are you into these days?

Happy Sunday everyone!  The hubby and I are going to have a Devil wears Prada afternoon, hope the movie is as fun as the book was. :)   Um... so much for the movie! We ended up eating a lesisurely lunch and napping in.  So, Happy Lazy Sunday to all!


14 weeks

Bébé Zen

A friend of mine told me about this little zen ball that you wear around your neck near the baby while it's still in the womb. It's supposed to sooth and remind the baby when it's born of sounds it heard while living inside of my belly.  From what I understand the baby can start to hear sounds from the 4th month on.

My belly looks huge here, it's really not this big, yet. I can definitely still see my feet.  It's become more obvious that I am pregnant. Also now that I'm officially in my second trimester I'm starting to feel better.  The nausea has pretty much gone away though I am still sensitive to certain smells.  My energy is back as well.   And my appetite has returned which is good because I wasn't able to keep down much my first trimester. No crazy cravings yet. 

My face has changed a little. My freckles are coming out which is strange because usually at this time of the year my skin is very pale.  It's like I've been to the beach for  the day and the sun has kissed all my freckles.  Julien loves it. And besides my skin changing my hair has started to really grow and I think this will be my chance to let it finally grow long.  We'll see how long it lasts, though the thought of having long hair when I turn 30 sounds good to me. :)

Self portrait at 3 months and one week.

And I officially can't sleep on my stomach anymore which is the only way I sleep. I have 4 pillows that I sleep with (plus my husband!) to help with sleeping on my side. My hips are starting to ache and I'm having some joint pains. I hope that my yoga classes will help to calm that. Has anyone else experience sharp pains in their shoulder joints? A couple nights ago it was so bad I couldn't sleep at all.

And something to look forward to is the TBM(Trés Bon Marché) at Bon Marché will be starting next week on the 11th. And from what my friends and I have experienced the last couple years is this is the time to buy yarn at our beloved BM mercerie! I've just finished my first official knitted baby garment (photos to come, I promise) and am feeling motivated to start another baby project soon. 

Good night for now... :)