Thank you everyone for your congratulations! (And the comments on the song made me blush. Thanks guys, you're too kind. It's been far too long since I brought my voice out into the Public Space.) I realized, after posting the slide-show, that some of the pictures were obscured by the photo titles. To rectify this, I've posted the original picture files on my Flickr account in their own set, located here. (Especially for people like my mom, who would appreciate seeing The Whole Thing.)
Our anniversary day was busy, but ended well. While Greg was at work on Monday, I worked on getting the slide-show together and recording the song for it (recording the vocals with no children around to make noises took some planning!). Somehow, I also managed to throw together a Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, feed the children dinner (boxed macaroni and cheese, because I needed a little break), put them to bed, and tidied the kitchen. Then, in the time it took Greg to park the car and walk up the stairs, I changed from Mommy Uniform to Date Night Clothing. I was like Superman. Or Supermom. Whatever.
Dinner was take-out from the local Asian Bistro, and it was nice to be able to decompress at last after a busy day, and, well...to "date". And then, my friends, there was dessert.
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic-Black-Pepper Glazed Strawberries
Dudes: this dessert is dead sexy, and stupid-easy. If you can wrap your brain around making whipped cream, you're home free on this baby.
Here's what's involved: heat cream and sugar. Add vanilla. Add softened gelatin. Pour into wineglasses (or ramekins if you plan to unmold them). Chill at least 2 hours. That's it. (I used David Lebovitz' recipe, found here.)
For the strawberries, I simply cut them, drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar, ground a few twists of black pepper over it, and sprinkled on sugar to taste. After being gently stirred together, it was ready to top and serve.
This dessert begs for variation and playing around with flavors. I could imagine this with blueberries doused in maple syrup, blackberries with a bit of brown sugar, peaches with caramelized honey (cook honey over medium heat until it caramelizes, cool slightly, toss with fruit), etc.
But that's enough about romance and food. Let's talk fiber, shall we?
I've got a bunch of New Stuff to show you. First off, I have neglected to show off a very cool gift that my friend Laura sent a month or two ago (oh dear, how did it take me so long?!)
Super cute sewing patterns, and a gorgeous silk hankie for spinning!
I've been wanting to play around with hankies for a while now, and the colors in this little stack are just totally perfect.
Thank you Laura! (I was going to link to you in Ravelry, but can't seem to find you now. Help!)
Next up: Amy (Spunky Eclectic) King's new book!!
I haven't managed to find the time to properly review it, and I still don't have time today, but suffice to say: if you spin, you need this book. It's fun, it's informative, it's interesting, and it's well written and photographed. Full-color pictures, great instructive angles, great book. Buy it.
Also in the spin-struction category is this DVD:
I haven't actually viewed it yet, but I am excited about learning new techniques that will improve my skill as a spinner, overall.
But seriously, what good is an instructional video and book, if there's no new wool to play with? My thoughts exactly. (BE WARNED! The CLUB SPOILER for Spunky Club is approaching:)
OK, I'm going to be totally silly here, but I love it that Amy just wrote "Faith" on it. No last name, not my Ravelry screen name, just "Faith". Gotta love shopping somewhere that I'm known on a first name basis. I know, I know, it was probably just done to organize the packages from the frenzy after the recent update, but I can still be thrilled by it. (Amy, you're awesome, and I don't know if you even meant to, but you totally made my day.) :)
New Spunky Stash, unwrapped:
(Hey Tiffany, I used your gift certificate!! Thank you!!!)
If you click through to Flickr, you can hover over it for notes. There's several wool blends in there, which I figured would be easiest with learning new techniques, etc.
Oh wait -- you haven't seen enough? You want more pictures, you say? OK, how about some close-ups?
Spunky Club July, Merino-Tencel blend, "Beach Day":
I've been wanting a shawl pin for a while now, but for whatever reason have just never gotten one until now. It's a Yellow Dog shawl pin in Maple wood, and it's perfectly smooth, lightweight, and elegant, without being at all fussy.
(You can find more at Spunky Eclectic here)
I'm currently working on my Swap For Scraps wool; I'm excited to see how the colors all play out, and I'll tell you all about the process in my next post.