• Vengeance
  • Wormhole
  • Asteroid - Blue
  • Asteroid - Green/Yellow
  • Plasma Planet
  • Asteroid - Purple
  • Intaki VI and Asteroids
  • Intaki Prime
  • Oceania
  • Ringed Planet
  • Golden Pod
  • SakBat
  • Classic Sakaane Eionell
  • Sakaane Eionell
  • Warp Tunnel Distortion
  • Asteroid City
  • Peyote Lake
  • Bighorns
  • Grizzly
  • White Anemone
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Purple Anemone
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Waterton
  • Foothills
  • Iceland
  • Red Sunset
  • White Tiger
  • Red Panda
  • Lightbeams
  • Orange Fungi
  • Grapes
  • Daenan
  • Arlayn
  • Stream
  • Berwen

Category: Book of Days

Book of Days is my blog. Website updates will appear here as well as other random ramblings.


Culinary Adventures: Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

I’m not much of a red sauce person. If I’m at a restaurant and in the mood for pasta, and if there’s Alfredo on the menu, chances are I’m going to order that dish. If I buy frozen pasta meals to eat at home or take to work as a lunch, I’ll buy something that has Alfredo in it. Alfredo, Alfredo, Alfredo. In my book, it’s the king of cream sauces.

On occasion I’ve tried buying Alfredo sauce in a jar, or as a powder packet (just add milk!), as a slightly more economical choice as compared to premade frozen dinners. The problem I’ve had with the premade stuff is that while I like the sauce, the premade sauce doesn’t like me back. I end up being punished with food-induced issues for days after enjoying my one night of pasta bliss, which of course wrecks the whole thing. For whatever reason, I don’t tend to have those same issues when eating out or buying certain brands of frozen dinners—I’m not sure why (maybe the preservatives?). It’s always been disappointing though, because the frozen dinners never have quite enough pasta in them to satisfy me, and having all that extra waxy cardboard left over afterward doesn’t feel terribly environmentally friendly. Eating out all the time isn’t good either.

But I also hate cooking. The idea of making my own Alfredo sauce has always been intimidating, and as a matter of course I tend not to like to keep fresh milk or cream in the house because it will usually spoil before I can use it all. Additionally, I’ve sort of had it in my head that Alfredo sauce must surely be this magical, super complicated substance that only the most masterful of cooks can make. Master cook? Definitely not me!

Recently I had a craving for Alfredo, a strong one, so decided to bite the bullet and try making it myself, from scratch.


Coveted Crochet, aka My Work Was Stolen

My elephant.

My elephant.

Anybody remember this guy? My very adorable crochet elephant, my first proper amigurumi project that wasn’t for practice, that had no mistakes… I made him in the spring of 2016, not long after I started learning to crochet. I adore that elephant and have been very proud of it. It’s small! It’s cute! It’s huggable!

The company I work for uses an elephant as its mascot. I was so happy with how my elephant turned out that I took it to work to put on my desk. My coworkers love it. Everybody loves it.

Occasionally, the sales guys go on the road to do trade shows and other industry-specific events where we set up a table and hope to build new and expand existing business relationships. After I brought my elephant in, one of the guys asked if he could take it with him to put on the table as a decoration. Sure, I said. That was a huge compliment in and of itself. The professional dudes at work want to use my stuff to help them sell our actual products? Heck yes! Turned out the elephant was a big hit. It attracted people with its adorable cuteness! Yay me! My elephant has since travelled around Canada numerous times with the sales guys. It’s been to places I’ve never been!


One Square A Day

I decided to get a head start on the temperature blanket! The pattern calls for sixty “blank” squares that don’t correspond to any calendar days so there’s no reason not to do them ahead of time. :) Sixty is a lot of squares though, so just like with the rest of the blanket, I plan to do just one per day for the next two months so I don’t become overwhelmed or burnt out.

My first two blanket squares, made with Bernat Blanket yarn in Coal.

My first two blanket squares, made with Bernat Blanket yarn in Coal.

This is my first time making granny squares as well as an actual blanket so it’s going to be quite an adventure! Overall, Bernat Blanket yarn is easy to work with, although so far I’ve found pulling the magic circle closed can be a bit tough—but that may be because I crochet pretty tightly and this is bulky yarn. I’m sure as I get more practice with more squares I’ll get the hang of it! I also have to get some mats so I can block the squares as I make them.


Temperature Blanket: Final Charts!

I wrote last time about how it’s been a hot summer in Calgary so Mom and I decided to tweak our temperature blanket charts in case next summer is just as hot. I made some changes to my chart and then ordered the Bernat yarn I needed. When the (very big) box arrived I excitedly laid out the balls…and immediately decided that a few of the colors weren’t going to work for me. Sigh! I guess I am a yarn snob (and I want my blanket to be really awesome)…

So, more changes! In the end I adjusted the temperature brackets for my blanket too, while Mom is keeping to the original set but with the +30° and -30° brackets added on. Here is where we’ve ended up:


Custom Postcards: Unboxing Magic

Some of my custom Postcrossing postcards.

It’s been almost a month since I first joined Postcrossing. So far I’ve sent seven cards (two are still in transit to their destinations). The two cards I’ve received to date have come from Germany and Ireland:

My first received cards: from Germany (left) and Ireland.

My first received cards: from Germany (left) and Ireland.

I’m actually having a lot of fun! The card from Germany arrived first and was in my mailbox on a day when I’d come home from work feeling lousy. It was a great pick-me-up! There was a lovely note on the back which made me smile. But what really got me grinning today was receiving my shipment of custom postcards from MOO!


Postcrossing!

Postcrossing

Something I did as a kid was participate in pen pal programs. I’ve always loved getting mail and writing letters to someone far away was fun, especially when we decorated them with stickers or included postcards, photos, stories, and other mementos. Two pen pals in particular have stayed in my mind over the years: the first is Carly, a lovely writer and animal lover from eastern Canada who I now keep in touch with via Twitter. I still have all her letters and we killed many a tree sending each other copies of stories we were writing that would surely be incredibly embarrassing if anyone were to read them today.

Ikue Ozaki, c. 1993

Ikue Ozaki, c. 1993

The other pen pal was Ikue, a girl who lived in the Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku in Japan. I was in my pre-teen and early teen years when Ikue and I started writing to one another. She wrote the most incredible letters on very fancy, delicate paper, and adorned them with anime- and manga-style drawings (in ink! with no mistakes!). She taught me simple Japanese words and sent me an entire children’s magazine (which probably helped influence my later interest in anime) as well as numerous postcards of her country’s beautiful landscapes and many other adorable things. Sadly, when the Kobe earthquake happened in 1995 I never heard from her again, though I wrote to her several times for a couple of years afterward. Almost 6500 people were killed in that earthquake (roughly 1800 from outside the Kobe area) and I have always wondered if she was one of them or if her home was just destroyed to the point that her family moved with no forwarding address. Maybe it was just a coincidence. None of my letters were ever returned so I really have no idea what happened. It will probably be one of those life mysteries.


Temperature Blanket: Back to Square One

The summer has flown by and soon 2018 will be here! It might be a bit early to be thinking about the new year for most things, but when it comes to yarn projects more lead time seems better, especially when trying to source specific yarn or adhere to a particular plan. The other day I reminded Mom that we should think about getting yarn for our temperature blankets. She (quite excitedly) exclaimed that she had finally found a pattern she felt she could use—and now I’m excited about it too!


Quality of Life Improvements – Incyanity Updates

One of the things I love about WordPress is its flexibility. Since moving Incyanity off Joomla in October of 2015 I’ve continued to tweak the site here and there as the need arose, and in the meantime have been able to add new content on a fairly regular (for me) basis. The other thing I really love about WordPress over Joomla is its built-in RSS functionality: whereas Joomla very annoyingly did not have a combined RSS feed for all content regardless of its category, WordPress provides that by default (along with the ability to follow only specific categories or tags if a person so desires), making it very easy for readers to subscribe to the site. WordPress also makes it easy to update existing content and “republish” it simply by updating the published date of the article. I’ve done this a few times since posting the various Heart of the Empire compendium articles, as the creative process is ongoing and several updates have been made to them—and what better way to let readers know there is new content than to simply republish it?

One of the things I hate about RSS reader apps is, depending on the app in question, the updated article isn’t always fetched. Said article appears at the top of the RSS feed on the site based on its updated publish date, but some reader apps remain blind to that change…meaning certain people who follow my content will never know it’s been changed no matter how many times they check their app, unless they come to the site itself and see those updated articles on the landing page. This was aggravating to discover: I tried a few so-called “popular” RSS apps and a few of the highest-recommended ones didn’t show my republished content even after clearing the app cache or deleting and re-adding the feed. Other apps had no issues but weren’t as widely used, probably because they are poorly designed or don’t have as many features. Rawr.

One of the few things I miss about Joomla is its built-in ability to display the date an article was last modified. WordPress has the function but doesn’t seem to integrate it by default and none of the WordPress themes I’ve ever considered bothered to use it either. Bummer. Originally I didn’t care so much because I could just republish…until I discovered that some RSS apps are stupid about that. Full circle arg. What to do?


Temperature Blanket

What’s a temperature blanket? Is it a blanket you plug into the wall, or is it something less likely to short out and burn down your house? I had never heard of temperature blankets until a few weeks ago when @LionBrandYarn tweeted this:

Discovering temperature blankets for the first time!

Discovering temperature blankets for the first time!

When I looked into what a temperature blanket was, it seemed to be a nifty and fun idea, especially since Calgary can have some pretty wild weather at any time of the year!


The Growing Stash: Becoming a Yarn Snob?

In my entry called Beginner Crochet: Ten Tips I Wish Tutorials Had Taught Me, I said:

Make it a rule for yourself that you’re not allowed to get more yarn if the basket is full.

At the time, I’d just purchased a fairly large wicker basket to stash my yarn in. I had more yarn than I expected and when I was done putting it all in, the basket was full. I wrote that quote above with the best of intentions and figured it’d be reasonably easy for me to keep to that rule, mostly because I’m primarily interested in crocheting amigurumi and one does not really need a lot of yarn for that.

In that entry, I also said:

Fact is, unless you are remarkably strong-willed (but just assume you aren’t, it’ll be easier in the long run), your stash won’t be confined to that small space for very long. There are just too many pretty yarns out there…

Pretty yarns indeed. I now have direct evidence to support that, like many other people, I am definitely not strong-willed. I have succumbed to the lure of pretty yarn! I am not ashamed of this! But now my stash doesn’t fit in the basket, not even close. It got to the point where the basket was an overflowing mess that was taking over the living room. While organizing it, I started to wonder if I’m becoming something of a yarn snob.