Friday, December 31, 2021

Christmas on Manastirishte

This Christmas, as is almost a tradition already, husband, Gaby and I went hiking. We chose a very easy and short trail, expecting something like a walk in the park. Down in the city the snow melted around the middle of December and we were surprised and a bit unprepared for the conditions on Plana. The trail was covered with deep wet snow and at the end of the hike our three-season hiking boots were all dripping wet. Luckily, the weather was sunny and a bit above zero and apart from our wet feet we were actually quite warm.

:The church at the end of the village and the beginning of the trail

:Vitosha in the distance

Hike info:

Destination: peak Manastirishte (1338 m)
Mountain: Plana
Total length: 8.2 km
Elevation gain: 160 m
Total duration (plus picnic and rests): 2 h 15 min
Average difficulty: 3 / 10

:The old abandoned house, one of the landmarks on this trail
:The path on the ridge of the peak was covered with deep snow and barely trodden. We followed in the deep steps, left by some other hikers
:The chapel on the top
:At peak Manastirishte

:The view from the peak. The only other tourists we met on Christmas were a family on ATVs
:We had our picnic on a bunch of rocks at a sunny clearing

Me-made items, worn on this hike:
Husband: men's boxers, Knip Mode cargo pants, knitted socks and hat

I:  socks, lingerie, Chaika Sweater, CC copycat hat, Borika gloves, scarf

Gaby: socks, Striped Longsleeve, Tweed Hoodie, gloves, hat, scarf

:Back to the village of Plana, with Rila at the background

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Jack Joggers for Husband

The second of my additional Christmas presents for family members is ready - another pair of Jack Joggers, this time for husband.

These are very similar to the ones I made for Alex, but this time I added 2 cm to the rise of the pants at the waist, as husband really dislikes low rise. Also, and as per his request, I made the inside part of the pockets out of red lining knit fabric, a remnant from my Houndstooth Hoodie. He wanted some hidden red for interest.

The fabric I bought for husband is his most favourite soft, thick and warm cotton sweatpants fabric, very similar to the one I used for his light grey Burda joggers. These latter sweatpants are his most favourite this winter and he's been asking for another pair ever since I made them last month. So, he's getting another one for Christmas :)

Size: 44 (L) Height: 178-184 cm
Fabric: cotton sweatpants fabric, rib knit fabric for cuffs and waistband
Time to make: 2 days

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Pancharevo 2021

Today's hike was more like a walk in the park - we went to Pancharevo lake near Sofia, at the skirts of Lozen mountain. The day was again cold, windy and dark, with occasional sun through the thick cover of clouds, and some erratic snow fall.

:Lake Pancharevo, a water reservoir for Sofia

:The village of Pancharevo
:Ducks in the lake, plenty of them

:A disgruntled customer left a message on one of the doors :)))

:A great tit and a nuthatch


Hike info:

Destination: lake Pancharevo
Mountain: Lozen
Total length: 7 km
Total duration: 2 hours 30 min
Average difficulty: 1 / 10

Me-made items, worn on this hike:

Husband: men's boxers, socks, hat, scarf
I:  lingerie, Copper cables sweater, socks, hat, scarf, gloves


Friday, December 17, 2021

Orange Marmalade Cake

Several years ago we found an orange marmalade brand in our local Lidl, that was very aromatic and excellent for putting into cakes and sweets. I had a favourite cake recipe I used to bake then with this jam. I don't remember it and whether it was my improvisation or I had read it somewhere, but I remember making this type of cake several times and it was a big success with family and friends.

And then, as it often happens with some recipes, I forgot about it. Recently husband brought home a jar of the same orange marmalade with a request for some orange cake. I looked at some recipes on the Internet, none grabbed me, so I decided to try something on my own, having been baking fruit cakes for many, many years now. I am really pleased with this latest one and this time I am putting it down to have it at hand when needed.


  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g sugar
  • 200 g yogurt
  • 60 g vegetable oil
  • 220 g flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 180 g orange marmalade
  • 50 g sugared lemon peel
  • 50 g walnuts
  • 30 g dry kumquats

Beat the eggs with the sugar. Add the yogurt, oil and flour with baking powder. Mix into a batter. Add the marmalade, nuts and dried fruit. Pour into a baking form and bake for about 30 min in a preheated oven at 180C. The cake is moist, sweet and very, very aromatic. Enjoy with your coffee or tea.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Purple Dotted Rays

One more Purple Dotted Rays! I love this pattern and I love Stephen West's designs, so addictive!

I started this shawl at the beginning of February this year and happily knitted it in less than ten days. 

The yarn is Italian bobbin merino, white, which I dyed in various shades of red, purple, brown and grey. I am truly in love with the combination I was able to achieve.

When I cast on the shawl back then, I was in a frame of mind towards turning my hobby into a small business and registering a shop on Etsy. So the shawl was to be one of a dozen of items to be listed in the shop. However, after attending several seminars and reading further on Etsy businesses, I became convinced that it was not for me, I simply lack the entrepreneurship enthusiasm, required for such a shop to succeed. So, for now, the idea has been abandoned and the shawl remains the sole item I made for purchase. I intend to keep it for myself, or possibly gift it to Gaby.

But why am I showing it today? Because, back then in the middle of February, I finished the shawl at 99.9% Yes, I ran out of yarn some 20-30 stitches before I finished the I-cord cast off.

I still have over 300 g of the original white yarn and I tried at least 5 times in the course of the year to dye a small amount of it to match the colors of the shawl. But it is so difficult to recreate such a random and colorful combination. The attempts came out too purple, too red, too violet, always strikingly different.

Then, after dyeing my Berry Punch Yarn earlier this month I tried again. My first attempt was sort of orange-purple, but a good base for further retouching. On the following day I added some blotches of grey, bordeaux and brown and I declared it finally good enough to have the shawl finished.

And here it is, in all of its glory on another very cold, bleak and windy December day, in combination with my new purple corduroy skirt and my beloved black Grasser sweater.

Pattern: Dotted Rays by Stephen West
Yarn: Merino Extrafine 150 g, hand dyed
Needle: 3.5 mm circular Addi
Time to knit: 10 days + months of hyatus

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Jack Joggers for Alex

Apart from secret (and not so secret :) Christmas presents, this year I decided to sew something for my husband and two children. These hand-made presents are not meant to be secret, in fact I insist on the recipient trying them on and giving me feed back, as I would rather prefer them to have something comfortable and fitting to their liking, than a useless surprise.

I'm ready with the first of these presents - a pair of joggers for my son. The pattern is classic joggers called Jack by Vikisews, a Russian sewing company, with deep pockets and elastics at the waist and the ankles. I already tested it last month, when I made a pair of short joggers for Alex.

This time I decided to add just a touch of red, so I sewed red piping to the opening of the pockets.

Most of the seams were done on the overlocker, but I did additional strengthening seams on the straight machine at the sides and at the waist. And of course, I added my customized label at the back.

What I would change next time - I would make the waistband shorter, as Alex is one of those very sleek slim young men with broad shoulders and ridiculously tiny waists. And I also find the rise of the joggers a bit low, so probably 1.5 cm addition to the overall rise at the waist would be more comfortable. 

Although Alex did try them on (several times) during the sewing process, he hasn't received them yet, so no modeled pictures. Maybe I'll manage to persuade him to take a few photos after Christmas.

Size: 42 (M) Height: 178-184 cm
Fabric: cotton/polyester  double knit
Time to make: 2 days