yarny bookworm

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Donnerstag, 26. Februar 2015

The year in books - February

Another month has passed and some more books have been read.

I finished the Harry Potter series. I won't tell you again how much I love reading Harry Potter as I've done so here and here so I'll just show you some more pictures of those lovely books and leave it at that.

After finishing Harry Potter I had to pause for two or three days and then I started this book:

Carine McCandless - Wild Truth

Now some of you might have read "Into the wild" and some mor of you have probably seen the movie of Christopher McCandless and his fatal trip to Alaska. "Wild Truth" is a book written by Christopher's Sister Carine. In it she wants to tell the world the real reason, why Christopher broke with his parents and made his way into the wilderness without ever contacting them again. Many people have written to Carine and their family and expressed their astonishment on how a son can be so irresponsible and cause his family so much pain and suffering.
Carine describes detailed the Domestic Abuse that she and her brother had to endure during their childhood. Shocking at first. Then the book turns and it's more about Carines failed marriages and relationships and the fact, that she tried to reconcile again and again and again with her parents and failing at every single attempt.
I have to say that I expected something else. The book gives me the feeling that Carine wants to step out of the shadow of her brother in which she had to live her whole live, especially after his death. It seems to me that she brags about how good her relationship with Jon Krakauer, Sean Penn and Eddie Vedder is. The news of Christophers fate reaches her about the middle of the book and after that she just writes about her marriages, her parents and all the fights that they have. I probably won't read that book again.

Rafik Schami - A Hand full of stars
Every year, the city of Vienna publishes a book which is given away for free. My company helps distributing those books to the various bookstores. "A Hand full of stars" was the book that was published two or three years ago and one copy of it was lying around in our office kitchen.
It's a nice story, written in diary-style of a 15 year old boy who writes about his life in Damaskus. Nice story, quick and easy read. Lovely book.

Daniel Schreiber - Nüchtern

Nüchtern means sober. Daniel Schreiber, a German journalist, is an recovering alcoholic. In his book "Nüchtern" he describes the wicked ways in which alcohol is accepted in our every day life and in our culture.
I bought this books because I'm really critical when it comes to alcohol consumption. I come from a small village where drinking is some kind of sports and I begin to detest the way alcohol is viewed. Don't get me wrong, I drink alcohol myself and I have been drunk before, especially in my youth when I've probably been drunk every weekend. But the drinking problem is - in my opinion - getting a little out of control. If I'm out on a Saturday and I DON'T drink, I have to justify myself. How crazy is that? We live in a world where non-drinking is considered weird and unusual. I'm the outcast, if I don't drink. I'm not normal. People go out on a Saturday and the evening wasn't successful and fun until all of the people involved get really, really drunk. And by that I don't mean tipsy. I mean people are getting so drunk that they are unable to walk, until they have to throw up and until they have lost all memory of the last night by the time they finally wake up.
Daniel Schreiber shares my opinion and speaks really critically about the way that alcohol is accepted in our society and in our culture.
I don't know if this book is available in any other languages, but I'm sure, that there's a similar book written in your language by any other author.

So despite the fact that I normaly prefer fiction I've read two non-fiction books this month. Very unusual for me but I think that I'll try to read more non-fiction in the future. Both books were very interesting and really made me think. And that's what any good books should do to you.

Happy reading, everyone!

Montag, 23. Februar 2015

The Mario blanket - TA DAH!

Guys, you won't believe it, I actually FINISHED a piece of crochet! And not just any piece of crochet but by far the BIGGEST piece that I've ever made!
If you read this blog semi-regulary, you might have read about the Mario blanket once or twice. I started this blanket sometime in the summer, thinking (haha, how delusional!) that it might make a nice christmas present for my man, as he is a huge Super Mario Fan. So I only crocheted it, when he wasn't around. That lasted for about one or two weeks, then I realized, that I would never finish it that way. So I told him about it.

I saw a similar blanket somewhere on the internet, so the idea isn't clever or new at all. But I still liked it. So I ordered the yarn and started to crochet simple, dense, 5-round Granny Squares. Nothing special about them. Then I found the pattern for a crochet top, so I put the (rather dull, I have to admit) Granny Squares aside to make this. Then I started working on the blanket again. Then my mum saw my finished crochet top and demanded one for herself. So I put the work on the blanket aside, to make my mum her top. Then I worked on the blanket again. Then I started to work on snowflakes for the christmas market. Then I went back to the blanket. Then I...well, you see the pattern.

After New Year I told myself that I'm not allowed to work on anything else until I've finished that blanket. To be honest, it was rather tiring for me, to crochet all those same, simple squares in all those same, simple colors. But I gave up on one Granny Square blanket right when I started to crochet and I didn't want to fail again. So I worked and I worked and I worked.

I got some new yarn deliverd this week. Two packages: one contains fluffy Drops Baby Merino which will turned into a lovely baby blanket for my yet unborn niece/nephew. And the other package contains Drops Silk Alpaca Yarn. Probably the softest and most luxurious yarn that I ever bought. I'm going to turn this into a shawl to wear with my wedding dress on my wedding day which is less than two months away! So I had a really good motivation to finish the blanket.

And as you always have to see the bright side of life: Thank god I got knocked down by a nasty stomach flu this weekend, so I spend three days on my couch with the big blanket on my lap, darning in the ends (because I left them ALL until the end. Very clever, huh? That way I was so far along that I HAD to do them, no matter what. Whereas I would have probably thrown the pile of Grannies out of the window, if I did all those ends square by square. I guess I'm a tad masochistic in that way) and crocheted four loooooong rounds of edging onto the blanket.

But all the work paid off because....TA DAAAAH!

It's finished!

252 Granny Squares
Measures approximately 1,80 m x 1,40 m so it's very nice and cosy and big and snuggly

I don't know how much yarn I used, but I used an acrylic yarn (as the blanket would otherwise have been too expensive and probably also too heavy). One skein (50g) of that yarn made about 20 Granny Squares, so that should give you an idea.
I used a 3,5 mm hook.

Sorry for the bad photos but I finished it yesterday in the evening. And I'm never home in daylight (thanks to my work schedule) and I cannot wait until next weekend to take proper picture. I might take some additional proper pictures then to show the blanket in all its glory. But for now, these have to suffice.

Oh and just for the record:


Montag, 16. Februar 2015

Faschingskrapfen: A recipe

Hello lovely peeps!

Again more than a week has passed since my last blog post. And again - things are a little crazy and hectic around here, so I never get around to write up a post during the week. To make up for this I decided to share a recipe with you.

In Austria, right now the carneval is going on. On Sunday, there was a big parade in my hometown, people got dressed up and finally had a good excuse to get really drunk at ten a.m. on a Sunday morning. Not really my cup of tea, but my man and I watched the parade and then went for a loooong walk with the dog, far away from all the noise and the party and the drinking.
The good thing about the carneval though is one thing: Faschingskrapfen! Austrian culture is deeply linked with cooking and baking. Especially sweets and baked goods are essential to every kind of holiday or celebration!
The Krapfen are made of a yeast dough and taste a little similar to donuts. As they are not the quickest of recipes, people tend to buy them, rather than making them themselves. But I never really like the bought ones and so I decided to try them out myself after a recipe from my mother which she got from her mother which she got from my great-grand-aunt. So it's kind of a family heirloom and I am happy to keep up with the tradition!

Usually, they are filled with apricot jam, as I didn't have the tools to fill them, I left them unfilled. If you want to make them, be sure that you have a free morning or afternoon at your disposal. They're not very difficult to make, but the dough needs to rest 3 times altogether and that what makes it a little time consuming. But believe me - they're all worth it! (The time it takes is probably the reason why people only make it once a year. Which makes them all the more special, in my opinion!)

But now enough with the talking, here we go with the ingredients. For about 20 of these delicious "Krapfen" you'll need:

650 g of plain flour
1 package of yeast (around 50 gram)
6 egg yolks
100 g butter
50 g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
two tablespoons Rum
250 ml and 125 ml of milk
a dash of salt

First, put the flour in a large bowl. Make a little crate. Then crumble the yeast into that crate. Warm the 250 ml of milk and dissolve the sugar in it. Be careful, that the milk is not too hot! Pour the milk over the yeast and make sure that the yeast is dissolving. Put a clean cotton dish towel over the bowl and let it rest for about 20 minutes on a warm place, for example next to a heater.

While the yeast is rising, warm the 125 ml of milk. Dissolve the butter in the milk, add the rum to the liquid and at last, gently stir the egg yolks in your milk-mixture. Again, be careful that the milk is not too hot. I'm always testing it with my finger, it should just feel a little warm. 

After 20 minutes rest, the least/milk mixture should look something like this:

the yeast has risen

Mix all the ingredients together now and knead them into a soft and smooth dough. If you find the dough rather sticky, add some more flour to it. When the dough doesn't stick to your fingers anymore, it's perfect.

Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes. It should rise in this time and look like this:

and so has the dough

Roll the dough out with a rolling pin. It should be about 3 cm thick. Then use a large cookie cutter to cut out little circles of the dough. Put the "Krapfen" on a clean cotton dish towel and cover them with another towel. Let them rest again for about 30 minutes.

cutting out the Krapfen. If you don't have a cookie cutter in this shape, use an upside down water glass

They should rise again and should look like this:

Heat some vegetable fat in a large pot. The dougnuts should be able to swim in the fat! Make sure that the fat isn't too hot, or the Krapfen will be raw inside. Let them bake at one side and then turn them around. If they've risen as they should have, they will have a small bright line in the middle.

If you want, you can fill them with jam or nutella or whatever you fancy. My man and me prefer to sprinkle them with powdered sugar, others love to dab a large splat of apricot jam onto them. Whatever you like.

Just be sure to eat them when they are still warm! Enjoy and let me know if you've tried the recipe and how you liked them! :)

Dienstag, 3. Februar 2015

the year in books - January

A month is over and it's time for the year in books again. As I explained in this post, I'm doing a slight variation of the year in books. Instead of stating at the beginning of the month, which book I'm going to read, I'm writing a little review about the books that I've read the previous month.
So here we go.

In December I knew that I had a rather long train ride ahead of me but I forgot my book. So I went to the book store at the train station and grabbed the first thing that sounded interesting which was
Jo Nesbo - Police

I never read anything of Jo Nesbo before. Part of my job is it to update the weekly bestseller lists and Jo Nesbo was featured in that list for quite some time now. So I thought I'd give it a try. And it proved to be a very good decision! Police is a quite fascinating thriller, dealing with a murderer, who killed police officers who weren't able to solve previous cases. It was thrilling and gruesome, sometimes rather disgusting and shocking, but it was quite a page turner and on the first days of the new year I finished it. The only negative thing I can say about it is that it was the tenth book that had a certain detective as main character and so I didn't understand some things as they happened in previous books and weren't really explained. But that's my own fault for buying the tenth book of a series instead of the first. I didn't realise this until I read about a hundred pages, though. But I'll probably buy the first one. It's a nice train or beach book, simple yet interesting.

Then I started on reading the Harry Potter book series again. As some of you might know, I've been on holiday in London in October. There I saw a beautiful edition of the Harry Potter books. Now I've read all of them several times, but I always borrowed them from my cousin, and never possesed them. As I am a book collector rather than a person who borrows, I was looking for a nice edition for quite some time now. I don't even remember the book shop, I just know that it was a book store located in the Waterloo train station, which was right next to our hotel.
I was looking for a souvenir to take home with me when my man pointed the books out to me! On the last day of our stay I bought them and I'm so happy that I did!
Instead of telling you something about the books (I assume you are all familiar with the Harry Potter story and if you're not - step away from the computer immediately and start reading those books!!!) I'll show you some picture of the books so you can have a look at how beautiful they are. There are so many details in these books, for example, all of the letters appear to be handwritten and each character is given his own handwriting, which make them even more precious to me!

What have you been reading this month?