Talking of classic wet and windy, Tuesday was Up Helly Aa and as new tradition dictates I went over to my brother's to watch the webcast of the procession. It was a little laggy but nonetheless enjoyable. It was clearly a pretty wild night weatherwise (and in every other sense come to think of it) in Lerwick so as next-best-thing options go watching the webcast from Glasgow was a pretty good next best thing.
But never mind the weather, I'm indoors now and talking about the Mixed Challenge. The Mixed Challenge is a thing on a Ravelry forum that I peruse and the idea was that in the month of January we'd do try to meet four challenges:
- Finish a WIP (work-in-progess) - anything lingering that is crafty
- Photograph an outside flower
- Write a letter
- Cook something from a new to you recipe
So finishing a work-in-progress first. I liked that this wasn't necessarily a knitting thing, though obviously I always have things on the needles that need to be finished at some point. I managed several with this challenge. I finished the circle socks that were hanging over from December.
I started and finished the Fair Isle hat for C's baby - so not a work-in-progress as such but I'm pleased with having had quick project that didn't languish on the needles. And I also started and finished a jam jar cosy, if that's the right name for such an object:
I'd bought a cheap bunch of daffodils the other day and all my vases (all my vases, I sound like Mr Collins - 'I should say all her vases, for she has several!') were either too tall or too narrow-necked. So I used a jam-jar and thought I'd knit a sleeve for it to pretty it up a bit. I've seen this done in crochet but my crochet is not up to it, so garter stitch stripes it was.
I also finished sewing some little felt hearts I'd been making last winter, and now they're hanging up on my calendar looking colourful.
'Photograph an outside flower' was always going to be a tricky one in Scotland in January. At the start of the month there were still a few of the dyer's chamomile flowers clinging on looking more than a bit sad:
But other than that there was very little. There were some small blue flowers on a plant in my garden - the name escapes me and as it's blowing a hoolie and chucking it down out there I'm not going out to check the label - but I couldn't get a picture in focus. So I cheated and took one of the daffs from the kitchen outside and took a picture of it in the snow, purely because it looked pretty!
The new recipe challenge was an excellent one as I rarely cook from recipes and have a rather stagnant repertoire of Things I Cook. Nice things, but the repertoire could do with expanding. So after much browsing I chose the Fruity Lamb Tagine from the BBC Good Food website, made it and blogged about it last week (in the post 'Things and Stuff' - I'd link but it's only two posts ago so that seems a bit silly). It was very weird browning the lamb and knowing I wasn't going to have anything minty with it - I'm obviously such a creature of habit that the smell of lamb immediately makes me want mint! Pavlov's cook.. But it was really delicious, it will be added to the repertoire and I'm so glad I had the Mixed Challenge to push me into cooking something new!
My only fail was in the 'writing a letter' challenge. I could do it today, though I've no idea who I would write to, but I've got a cold and to be honest I'm planning on going back to bed for a bit while my jeans dry on the radiator (soaked from the knee down - clammy, lovely..) before getting the kids from school. And although I haven't written a letter I did have an excellent result from having written a letter in December. With several of my older relatives I put a letter and a photo of the kids in with the Christmas card. A few days ago I had a 'phone call out of the blue from one of these relatives to say thank you for the card and the pictures. Jean is an older cousin of my mum's, in her eighties, and she sends birthday cards without fail to everybody in the family. I haven't actually seen her for decades, but I send her Christmas and birthday cards and try to let her know what we're up to and so on, and she rang up to say how much she liked the picture of the kids. It's easy to stay in touch electronically with my contemporaries and in fact with quite a lot of the older generation, but it's good to be reminded that not everyone's online or chooses to be online and that a letter in the post is a nice thing for anyone to get.
I'm intrigued to see what February's challenge will be. I'm guessing not bungee jumping. Hope not anyway, I'm forbidden to in case my retinas detach - you know like I was planning to go bungee jumping.. *rolls eyes* I leave the insane adrenaline junkie stuff to my brother and, slightly worryingly, to my daughter who seems to take after her uncle rather than sensible people like her parents.