Monday, April 28, 2014

Blink... and Then He's Two...

Wasn't it just yesterday I was announcing to you that my grandson Ethan was born?   Well, he turned two on April 23rd and there was a party for him this last Saturday.

My trip over to see Ethan and his parents started with a ferry ride on Friday.  (be sure to click and see a larger version of the pictures) That's Vancouver Island slipping away behind the ferry. The Strait was flat calm and there were many small sailboats making a dash to the islands for the weekend.

It was my first big trip in the new car by myself and I must say it was wonderful to drive. I had the sunroof open and it was great on the highway.   I went and had a visit with my Dad first who has had three weeks home now and doing so much better.  He looked much healthier, even if still a bit slow. He's improving and that's what counts.  We had a good visit and supper together and I headed to my hotel room for the night.

The next morning I was up and out early and picked up fresh supplies for my contribution to the food table  "Caesar Salad" with the dressing made from scratch!

When I arrived at my son and daughter in law's home,  preparations were well underway and I joined in and washed my greens and made up batches of dressing.

Meanwhile, Ethan is giving me the look.... you know the one that says:  "who are you and why are you here?"

Quite understandable when I live on the Island and can't get over as often we would prefer.  I just gave him his space but kept talking to him anyway....     He's quite the talker and has his own baby lingo for things and so I had to get translations from his Mum from time to time.  He's running everywhere and very focused on  on what ever he is engaged in.   With the party to come, there was a nap break of course...

There had been a lot of work and preparation done for this big day. Balloons and streamers all set, food table all set and the family cats tucked  away, the guests started arriving and before too long the house was full of people.  Family, extended / blended family and friends, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents...the whole Gang!

Here the other grandparents are helping with the gifts.  He is one lucky little boy as there was a ton of gifts!  Lego, books and much more. His favourite one? A little blue plastic wagon with wheels that made a huge racket when he pulled it around the house.  There was lasagna, cabbage rolls, meatballs, and of course Caesar salad.  Then there was cake.   Not just one cake but two! (well there were 30-32 people there so more is better.... right?)

The party theme was Elmo and the second cake is a special Italian cake with custard cream and real whipping cream. Totally decadent and totally yummy.

For a toddler who only managed a short nap, he did very well and there were only a couple of moments when a "melt down " seemed pending but disaster was averted.  It was fun but loud, crazy and a whole lot of happy!   When it was all over, everyone was very tired.  Ethan protested every step to bed but crashed instantly.

The next morning Ethan seemed quite happy to be around me and was calling for Nana and showing me his new toys.

Playing with his wagon ... and an empty box! I think he's still a bit tired... I know I sure was!
Before long, he and I were playing hide and seek and he'd jump out from the corner.

I was able to get hugs and kisses and lots of smiles and laughs but sadly I had to go home. We will be back again in June and spend more time, though no doubt we will get 'the face' for a time.

The ride home was equally as nice and there was even a pod of Killer Whales on the port side. The trip is two hours and I managed a nap for an hour.  Being a Nana is hard work!

So if you have read till this point, then you deserve a special bonus:

... Caesar Salad Recipe!

Caesar Salad

Heads of fresh crisp romaine (washed and torn up)
croutons, parmesan cheese, capers, mustard powder, vinegar, black pepper, anchovy paste, one fresh extra large egg,  vegetable oil (I use Becel) garlic clove  to taste.
Blender, salad spinner, large bowl

Wash and spin romaine.

In the blender add: 1/2 cup vegetable oil, one egg, squirt of anchovy paste, fresh black pepper to taste, 1 -2 tsp vinegar,  1/2 tsp mustard powder, 1 tsp drained capers, garlic clove and three large tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese.   Whip on high setting until the mix becomes a creamy colour and thickens. (it can take a while if you have an older machine) You can add a bit more cheese if need be. When ready, set blender jug into the fridge to chill. 

When ready to serve, sprinkle croutons onto of greens and spoon out dressing and toss well to coat the greens. Serve right away.  Be careful to refrigerate leftover dressing and dispose of left over mixed salad if not all eaten.  Refrigerated dressing will keep one day and then throw away if not used. 

If you need to make a very large salad, make a few batches and combine as this recipe does not double well. Better to make small batches and combine in one container.

This recipe was originally given to me by an Italian friend who came from Naples back in the mid 1980’s….

Friday, April 18, 2014

Plum Perfect

So when I left you last time, I had the second shawl under way with a slightly different treadling variation and a different weft option.  The warp is Italian tussah silk that isn't quite as soft (before laundering) as bombyx or mulberry silk  so I wanted a softer weft yarn. What I found in my yarn stash is a silk cotton blend that I had bought from Treenway back in 2000 when I attended a silk workshop with Karen Selk (former owner of Treenway).   I believe the split was 55% silk and 45% cotton.  Its quite fine and would equate to a 30/2 for grist.  Then, sometime after that workshop it had all gone into a back yard dye pot and become this soft plum shade. It 'matured' in storage nicely and was ready for a new look!

The treadling variation was to simply treadle from one to twelve and back again. No network treadling this time round.  Easy to remember, and gave me more of the interesting motifs and both legs shared the load.  I have to ice the knee now in the evenings so this is my last twelve shaft project until after the replacement is done and healed.

Same concept as the first shawl off this warp,  I wanted a small tidy row of sparkle along the edges but nothing over powering. I settled for alternating a freshwater seed pearls about the size of a grain of cooked rice and opalescent beads that have a slight sheen.

The pattern is fully reversible and so the pearls and beads can be seen from either side as well.  There is a slightly more colourful side (seen above) and the other side is a mirror image but more cream than plum. The wearer can choose which way they want to go depending on their mood or the occasion.

With the softness of the cotton, the shawl is quite lightweight  and makes a pretty accent for spring!  With the silk in both warp and weft, pressing brought up the sheen that only silk has. Its more of a deep glow really.

We  had bright sunshine while the fringes and beading was under way and that all disappeared today and rain has settled in for the long weekend.  I didn't want to drag things further waiting for the sun to return so set up all my lights and tried to get some decent pictures.

The drape is lovely. You have to love a twill for beautiful drape....

Close up of the finished beading and border pattern...

Today is Good Friday and the sun came out this morning! I quickly dashed outside with the camera and took some nice shots. Behind, our large magnolia is just coming into bloom

Here you can see the network sections. I sure wish you could touch this fabric! Its like a cloud.

So its Easter weekend and whether you celebrate it or not, I hope you all enjoy your time with family and friends, or just spend the day relaxing.  We'll just spend the time quietly here at home and no doubt just putter doing stuff we enjoy in the house given its going to rain all weekend long. No chocolates here! There will be a turkey though as we missed that this past Christmas.

Next week my grandson Ethan turns two! Where the heck has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I was telling you about his arrival!  I'm going on an adventure to Vancouver by myself next weekend to  visit with my Dad and then go celebrate at Ethan's birthday party.  I'll have pictures to share from the festivities!    

 My Dad, as you may recall, had a hip replaced in December.... and then again in February. He was hospitalized from December 10th (with a few days home at Christmas) until about three weeks ago. He had a very long and hard winter and so spring flowers must be so much sweeter for him right about now.