Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Two-Tone Colorways - New Experiments in Dyeing Wool

My latest colorways in my yarn dyeing experiments - Lollipop and Berries. I used 50 g Alize superwash for each of these dye jobs.

Lollipop was achieved by dipping half of the skein in very diluted yellow wool dye until the solution became transparent (it does! it's like magic how the wool sucks in the dye particles, when there are few of them) and then dipping the second half in very weak red dye solution. Then I fixed the dye in hot water with white vinegar and salt.

For Berries colorway I used the same technology, but instead of wool dyes I dissolved two variants of STEP instant drink (sort of the Bulgarian version of Kool-Aid) - morello cherry (the lighter raspberry color) and red grapes (the bordeaux color).

The sakura tree in our neighborhood is in blossom:

I'm delighted how these dye jobs turned out and I'll probably repeat the raspberry-red colorway in volumes to make a sweater for Gaby, as she loved it.

Meanwhile I'm ready with my light beige cardigan and can't wait for a photo session. But first I have to find decent buttons (I roamed the shops downtown yesterday but nothing appealed to me) and then the weather needs to be sundress-like, as that is what I have in mind for my photos :) So - probably next week, hopefully ...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Snow in April and Other Incidents

Last night I made my first Pavlova. Or rather, I started making my first Pavlova, following strictly the recipe in this excellent Russian culinary site.
For the meringues I used 4 egg whites, 180 g sugar + 10 g vanilla sugar + 1 vanilla, 3 tsp corn farina, 1 tsp white vinegar and 1/2 tsp lemon juice. The whites looked perfectly beaten, I distributed them into two circles, as described in the recipe and placed them in the warm oven at 100C.

And the baking began. Two hours later the meringues were still semi-liquid in the center, so I continued baking them and checking them and increasing the temperature of the oven to 120C and still baking them until it was midnight. I was mad and exhausted, so I turned off the oven and left them there to cool.

In the morning the meringues were still sticking to the baking paper, soft inside, but I removed them somehow and assembled the cake.
For the cream I used 200 ml French heavy whipping cream with 2 tbsp of vanilla powdered sugar and 250 g sour cream with 4 tbsp of white sugar.

I was too frustrated with this cake to bother much with the decoration, so I just scattered a few handfuls of fresh strawberries between the two layers and on top. A few hours ago I was certain that this is not only my first but also my last Pavlova, but now, that I've tasted it, I might have reconsidered :))

And a few pictures from our balcony of the snow we had yesterday (it's snowing big fat snowflakes as I write this post). The temperatures are close to but still above zero and the ground is already warm, so the snow cover is only temporary, but still - we want our spring back!

The cold and the snow precipitation is not comparable to that in other European countries like Austria or Moldova, but we had to take out the winter hats, sweaters and coats.

Looking forward to normal warm April days ...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sunny Morning - Anatolian Puzzle 1000

It's been a while since I last assembled a puzzle and I had forgotten how addictive it can be for me. For the same reason I love cross stitching, the gradual emergence of the picture from the thousands of pieces / stitches is so captivating.

This latest puzzle was bought more than a month ago but I waited for the right free time - like the long Easter weekend, for I knew - once I started it there will be little else done at home until I finish it.

The brand Anatolian is new to me, the quality is good, though I still find Schmidt first and  Ravensburger second. Anatolian would be somewhere third in my personal rating together with Educa and a few other brands.

Puzzle: Sunny Morning, 1000 pcs.
Brand: Anatolian
Time to assemble: 2 days

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Chepun, Easter Holidays 2017

We continue our spring hikes through the low mountains near and not so near Sofia. Today it was Chepun - a small mountain of the Balkan chain with its peak of Petrovski cross rising only 1205 m above sea level. We hiked Chepun a few years ago, so this time we tried a new route - we climbed the peak directly up, without a path, fast and furious :) and we went down following the broad and winding path, which leads to the west of the town of Dragoman. The day was warm, with some clouds, we had Gaby to keep us company, the hike was great fun.
We also visited the Dragoman marsh, which lies at the foot of the mountain. The birds, of course, were hiding in the reed, but from the observation tower we managed to see a hawk and a duck.