Weekend knits

So, I got myself a copy of Knit Now Issue 39.
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The magazine comes with a cute little teddy bear tape measure project kit. It contains a tape measure and yarn to knit the cover. I think it is a lovely idea and can be a nice gift for someone before or after you knit the cover.

I like the art work for the package. Gingham has been my favorite for many years. The first doll I made when I was 10 is dressed in the pink gingham checks just like this one and still sitting in the living room of my parents’ house.
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This issue has many nice designs for autumn with woodland theme. I very much admire these designers who can make up patterns for garments.

My favorites in this issue are
this amazing jumper with owl pattern
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and these cute fox slippers.
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Aren’t they cute?

The magazine has many patterns to make quick and easy weekend projects.IMG_6685

And my little witch girl, of course.
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Thank you very much to all who have already gotten the magazine. I hope you will enjoy it. And don’t forget to show me your creations, too!

Knit Now Issue 39

Knit Now magazine issue 39 will be out on Thursday.

I have two of my original designs in this issue.
One is a little witch girl with a black cat.
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And the other one is the teddy bear tape measure cover.
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Remember this one? It has been ages since I submitted this pattern, and I was wondering what had happened to it.
It was a special request from the editor. They had a free tape measure gift for readers and wanted to offer yarn to knit a cover for it. Yes, it should be a knitting kit coming with this issue.

I have seen the photos added to my Ravelry page.
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I thought knitting a cover of circle shape might be difficult. I have seen a lot of tape measure covers crocheted, but not knitted. Actually, this turn out to be a simple and easy project, and I think it is easier and quicker than making a cover with crochet. A knitted bow is attached to the tape end.

My boys used to love self-retracting tape measures when they were little. They have broken many, and I am still using a broken one. I finally get to have a new tape measure!

I hope you will enjoy my patterns.

Sweet potato and chestnut mini pie

IMG_1122We are the nation of pastry lovers.
I discovered there are three types of pastries only after we moved to England. My son learned how to make sausage rolls in food tech at secondary school, and he still enjoys making them at home.
When we are left with a bit of puff pastry, I make sweets with it. Quite often it ends up in Palmiers, you know the ones look like these if you do it right.
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This is one of our family favorite. It is nice that you can control the amount of sugar if you make them at home.

I also make sweet mini pies. Here is a quick, easy recipe with natural sweetness.

Sweet potato and chestnut mini pie
Recipe to make 4 mini pies
4 tinned chestnuts
100g cooked sweet potato
20cm x 20cm puff pastry
20g unsalted butter
1 tbsp honey
1 egg yolk, beaten for graze

Steam or microwave the sweet potato until soft and mash it with fork while still hot. Add butter and honey. Pre heat the oven to 200c.

Roll out the pastry sheet and quarter the size. Place 1/4 of the sweet potato and place the chest nut in the middle. Bring four corners of the sheet to the centre and pinch to encase the filling.
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Brush with the egg yolk.
Bake the pies in the oven for 20 min. Done.

The sweetness comes from sweet potato and chestnut. I like using natural sweetness for baking.
It is so easy. Would you like to have a go? These may be nice for Christmas season, too.

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World Peace Art Exhibition

My mother-in-law is a fantastic Japanese calligrapher.
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She has been practicing and teaching Japanese brush calligraphy for years. She is very well known, and her work have been exhibited in many places all over the world. She has won hundreds of awards. Yes, she is utterly an amazing person.

In 2012, she came to London for an exhibition. Her work was displayed among many artists in a gallery. She was also awarded one of the top three prizes!

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I am afraid I do not know much about calligraphy, and I cannot read this piece which is written in the ancient style. But I noticed that it really stood out from all the rest in the room, and I was drawn to it. Her work certainly has the charismatic power.

She is 82 years old (although she looks 60) and tiny. You would not believe this powerful piece of art is created by this little lady.

I have recently spoken to her on the phone. She told me of the exhibition coming up in October in Paris. This time, her work will be in the World Peace Exhibition at UNESCO.

Usually, she travels to see her work exhibited. That is another amazing thing about her. She travels all over the world by herself.

She certainly gives me lots of inspirations and motivations to create.

Ever since I have spoken to her, I am thinking about my own future exhibition. That will be another milestone for me and, I would definitely want to make this dream come true some day.

Here is another photo of her amazing calligraphy.

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And here, I am enjoying her work together with my creation.
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The World Peace Art Exhibition will be held from 23 to 29 October in UNESCO, Paris.

I am so proud of my mother-in-law. I am very privileged to know her.

Back to school

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The long summer holiday is finally over and kids are back to school last week.

My older son who just finished GCSE had three months holiday. He was quite happy returning to school. In six forms, he will be studying only his favorite subjects which are Maths, Further maths, Physics and Art. He is excited about having 10 hours of maths every week!

I cannot say I enjoyed school when I was young, and it was always hard to go back to school after a long holiday. But my children, especially the older son seems to enjoy learning. He is also teaching young children literacy and numeracy at a local tutoring centre as a volunteer staff. He wants to work part time and get paid one day, but he is getting precious experiences.

He is learning how to learn and how to teach.

I made this set to celebrate the arrival of new school year.

I have a lollipop lady (man),
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I have a male teacher,
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a PE teacher,
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Oh, I should have get the kids dressed in PE kits, but never mind.

I have a headteacher, too.IMG_6447

Here is the full cast. I have a dinner lady in the back.
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I heard that free dinner is available to all primary children in the UK. How amazing. My sons’ secondary school offers free breakfasts on the exam days. We are so so fortunate.

I am making people at work with knitting. I think you can make a look-alike and give someone as a gift.

Good idea?

Sausage craft?

You might have seen the carving art with fruits and vegetables. I know there are many Asian chefs who are very good at this.

Recently, in a Japanese magazine, I saw an article on art using sausages.

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You can make these with mini frankfurters. Aren’t they cute?
My mum used to cut sausages into octopus shape when I was little. I have tried it myself, but I always end up losing one or two tentacles.
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I think this one is more simple and easy.
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There are more advanced ones.
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I think the eyes are made with black sesami seeds.

I heard this craft was created by a ham and sausage producer to increase their sale. Carving tools are also invented and sold in Japan.
I am not too keen on processed meat and do not buy much, but this craft is tempting.
I may practice a little and try to make some for Christmas to impress my guests.
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If you would like to have a go, there is a webpage with video tutorials. It is in Japanese, but I guess it can be translated: http://www.nipponham.co.jp/recipes/kazarigiri/

Knitted Australia

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I have been enjoying knitting the world themes as I have written in the last post.

Some countries have unique, distinct, traditional costumes which are easy to include in the design, but I struggled with this one: Australia.

Australia is a fantastic country with interesting animals as koala bears and kangaroos, but I have already knitted them in a few different styles. My first book, Mini knitted safari, has their patterns, too. I also wanted to add human figures. I know of the Aboriginal people, but I think I want to save it for the Easter Island for similar figures. I may do the Moai statues together with them.

How do people in Australia dress? If you Google images for ideas, you get the photos of people dressed in T-shirts and shorts and face-painted with the Australian flag.

But then, I got the photos of famous people on the same page.

He was the first one to come up. The guy in the photo above.

I asked my boys if they knew him, but they just looked puzzled. My boys haven’t seen the movie.

I just thought he may work for Australia scene. I made a crocodile for him. This croc has his mouth opened.
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He may have too many teeth, but never mind.

He has a little girl companion. You have to have a koala for Australia.

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I have never been to Australia. I would love to go there and hold a koala in my arms. I think it is one of the must-do once in a lifetime.