Nålebinding, Naalbinding, Nalbinding?

Recently, in addition to my crocheting and knitting addiction, I have acquired a new fiber hobby…Nålebinding!…or Naalbinding…or Nalbinding. There doesn’t really seem to be a great agreement on the spelling. I like Nålebinding though, since it has the cool little Scandinavian (I could be wrong?) “å“.

From EvaL8′s Ravelry page

Nålebinding is an ancient form of fiber craft, predating both crocheting and knitting. The oldest known pieces formed in this method include socks from the Coptic Christians of Egypt (4th Century BCE), and hats and shawls from ancient cultures in Peru (between 300 BCE and 350 BCE).

The way I was “introduced” to this craft, however, was through the Vikings! Some of you will know that I am a historical reenactment enthusiast, and my “persona”, if you will, is a pre-Christianity-era Viking. The Scandinavians used nålebinding to create clothing that were warmer and sturdier than crocheted or knitted pieces, since nålebinded pieces are thicker and more tightly formed.

From Randistoltz.com

Many of the pieces that I found online were nålebinded pieces that were later felted, and then embroidered. I haven’t finished a piece large enough (or good enough) to merit the effort of felting, but I personally think that pieces look nicer un-felted, as you can see the individual stitches, which I think are more unique-looking than crocheting or knitting.

From Things I Love To Make

Usually, I am very good with following instructions through videos, but for some reason, it took me a VERY long time to wrap my head around the whole nålebinding concept. I think the vast majority of my difficulty came from the novel method of actually THREADING the whole piece of yarn through, as opposed to hooking it back and forth (such as crocheting and knitting).

I have managed to “perfect” one kind of stitch so far, called the Oslo stitch. Here is one of the many videos that I had to consult in order for me to learn it:

Hopefully I will soon be able to finish a piece that is pretty enough for me to show off online! Another bit of exciting news…I have a new order of beautiful wool yarn coming in! I can’t wait to get my hands on those :D

Signing off,
Marie

Herbed Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This weekend, I was feeling all sorts of fancy (don’t you just love it when that happens?), so I decided to make a super fancy dinner for me and my boyfriend.

Unfortunately, my boyfriend is allergic to garlic AND onions, two of my most favourite ingredients to cook with. But Marie, you ask. How can you even make anything delicious without garlic or onions?!? Well. That’s when I consult my good friend Google!

We found a super nice recipe for Herbed Stuffed Chicken Breasts (courtesy of myrecipes.com) that only had six ingredients! (I don’t count cooking spray as an ingredient, sorry :D )

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The ingredients (as you can check out on the link provided above) themselves aren’t very special. However, I’ve never actually cooked anything with goat cheese or Canadian bacon (ham?) before, so that was interesting. Both my boyfriend and I were pleasantly surprised with how good the goat cheese was (contrary to our expectations, I guess).

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I’ve never made “pockets” in any kind of meat before either, so that was another new thing. And something that I definitely need more practice in. I ended up cutting through most of the chicken breasts, and while the whole thing held together relatively well, it kind of ruined the presentation a little bit for me. :(

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Post-frying, pre-baking! I had gotten this new fancy cooking parchment paper, from PARIS. They come out pre-cut, though I obviously didn’t know that and proceeded to rip it very clumsily. It was only when I had to get another sheet that I realized my mistake. D’oh. But seriously. It’s so convenient! Once you go pre-cut, you’ll never go back. :D

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And tada! The finished product! We had our chicken with a side of broccoli cheese rice. Maybe next time we will try pairing it with some roasted asparagus.

This is definitely a recipe that I will try again (and hopefully keep improving at!). Lots of new things I learned from cooking this, and it was SUPER delicious. Cost-wise, it was a little bit on the pricey side, but that was mostly due to the goat cheese.

What other garlic-free, onion-free recipes do you love cooking? Leave a comment below!

Signing off,
Marie

Korean Cooking: Egg Rice

Another short post with a super simple, super cheap, and super quick Korean recipe for all my fellow broke students out there! When I used to live with my parents, my mum used to always make lunch for us when we got back from school (for some reason, I never did like school lunches). One of my favourites (and hers too, since it is so easy) was 계란밥, or egg rice.

There are two ways of cooking it; the first is with sesame oil, and the second is with butter, or margarine. I prefer mine with margarine, since it is a more rich flavour (in my opinion), but both are delicious.

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Things You Will Need:

  • White rice
  • Eggs
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil OR margarine
  • Opt. roasted sesame seeds

Instructions:

  • Cook white rice.
  • Fry your eggs. Make sure they are just a little bit runny!
  • Chop your eggs into little bits with a spoon.
  • Add your cooked rice to the chopped up eggs.
  • Add 1 large spoon of sesame oil OR 1 chunk of margarine.
  • Add 1 large spoon of soy sauce.
  • If you added sesame oil, add some roasted sesame seeds.
  • Mix it all up, and eat!

Om nom nom :)

Signing off,
Marie

Paarthurnax Goes to the Vet!

Today, I finally got to take my pet tortoise Paarthurnax to the vet for the first time since getting him back in December!

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He was very confused as to where we were at first, but it didn’t take very long for him to get comfortable enough to start pooping everywhere…which was a good thing, because I had forgotten to collect a stool sample for his fecal exam. D’oh!

We got some measurements, and the vet checked him out as being one of the best-cared-for tortoises that she had seen so far. Yay! But at the same time, that made me a little sad because then I thought of all the poor tortoises out there with owners who have no idea what they are doing. I am lucky in that my significant other is a veterinary technician, so I have a lot of guidance on how to take care of an “exotic” correctly.

Behold, my marvelous drawing skills for the measurements:

tortoise measurements

Paarthurnax measured a healthy:
12cm from the top tip of the plastron to the bottom tip of his shell,
26cm around the widest part,
and 364 grams!

He did have a case of worms (most likely from the pet store), but that is easily taken care of with oral medication. He hates it though, so I have to be all sneaky-like and basically fill the hollow bits of his favourite Romaine lettuce with it, hehe.

Time to go give him a bath!

Signing off,
Marie

Say Hello to Paarthurnax!

It’s been a while since I last posted, and I’m really sorry about that! I’ve been getting back into the swing of things at school, so I really haven’t had much time to be cooking or baking or any of that fun stuff.

I do however, want to take the time to introduce you all to the newest addition to my tiny family…Paarthurnax! He is a Russian tortoise, named after one of my all-time favourite video game dragons, and he is absolutely adorable.

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It’s actually quite a long story about how I came about with getting him. When I first met my current significant other, we were casually talking about pets, and I told him of my lifelong desire to have a pet tortoise or a hedgehog. Since my beau works in a veterinary clinic, it was probably the best thing I could have done, since, a couple of months ago, he told me that a lady who frequents the clinic had some baby tortoises she was giving away (to responsible homes)! I immediately jumped onto that idea, and we started preparing a nice little home at both mine and his place for the tortoise-to-be.

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Unfortunately, the baby tortoise ended up dying due to complications during some surgery. After a tearful couple of days, my SO ended up taking me to PetCo to pick up a tortoise there! So although he might be a little older and not nearly as baby-cute, Paarthurnax is now my precious little grumpy baby (of approximately five years old). He’s got quite a surly temperament, which I don’t really mind, since he is so darn adorable the way he is. He loves his Romaine and his basking rock, and he loves to sit on any potted plants I get for him.

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Russian tortoises can live for up to 80 years, so he will probably be outliving me. But that’s ok, because I get a whole lifetime to love him.

Signing off,
Marie

Snoqualmie Falls, WA

I mentioned in my last post that I was spending my Christmas break at my aunt’s house in Seattle, WA. This Christmas, for some completely random reason, we decided to go to the Snoqualmie Falls for a festive (?) little hike!

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Since it was drizzling as well a bit when we got there, the view from the top of the falls (or the entrance of the park) wasn’t very…clear at all. In fact, even though the falls were only a couple of feet in front of us, we couldn’t see anything! Just the roar of the water thundering down very close to us.

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The hike down was very steep, and damp, but very pretty. There were plenty of huge trees draped with moss lining the path on both sides, as well as lots of signs with information on the various flora and their uses in the Native Indian life. Of course, there were also signs telling us not to feed the animals like this, not that I would EVER be caught trying to feed a wild black bear or mountain lion.

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At the bottom was the giant water-to-electricity converting…thing. For some reason, I thought that the giant green tubes were crazy water slides of doom. Not exactly. There were some old penstocks (the metal round bits that created the skeleton of the tube things) that we could look at as well.

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When falling, remember that points are given based on artistic performance and grace of execution!

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At the bottom of the wooden walkway, we were able to get up close and (sort of) personal with the river. Thanks to the constantly rainy weather here in Seattle, the river was raging with a frightening ferocity. The waterfall was very loud and wet as well. We couldn’t get too close to it (obviously), but it was pretty in a sort of majestic awe-inspiring way.

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I will be flying back to Indiana this weekend! Hope everybody has been having a good couple of days into 2014 so far. See you soon!

Signing off,
Marie

2014!…and the Christmas Season

If you had been reading my blog for a while, you would have known that around the same time last year, I had gotten really sick with a case of Norovirus (blog post here for those who didn’t read it). Like some sort of crazy ancient Egyptian curse, I have been sick AGAIN for the last couple of days! Thankfully, it is just the average flu and not the insanity that was Noro, but I have been feeling very under the weather, and was stuck home all week. Boohoo.

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Thankfully, I have my loving extended family here in Seattle WA to keep me company! My mother and my brother came to meet up with me here as well, so we got to do all the Christmas festivities, such as decorating the tree (well, that was mostly me but…), having our delicious Christmas turkey dinner, and bonding over card games (“bonding”…as in yelling at each other. Haha. Family love.)

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Of course, it was also my mother’s birthday the day after Christmas, so we got to celebrate that as well with some delicious cake! Om nom nom. Tis the season for eating, everybody.

I hope everybody is doing well, and don’t forget to get your flu shots (like me) and get sick (like me)! Hope 2013 was a blast for you all; I know it definitely was for me. :)

Hope to see more of you guys in 2014!

Signing off,
Marie

P.S.: I will be posting some cool updates about my trip to some WA locations soon, so stay tuned for those!