Thursday, September 15, 2011

Celebrating Agatha Christie's Birthday

Today was Agatha Christie's 121st birthday (she was born September 15th, 1890).

I decided to celebrate with Hercule Poirot, various other Agatha Christie characters, and Miss Marple style knitting. :)

First on the agenda:  "Murder on the Orient Express", starring David Suchet as Poirot.
Unintentionally, it was next on my Netflix queue.  It arrived yesterday, just in time for the birthday celebration!  :D

Next:  "Endless Night" streaming on Netflix.  This is a more contemporary Agatha Christie novel, written in the 1960's.  The movie stars Hailey Mills in one of the major roles.  Unlike "Murder on the Orient Express", this story does not involve Hercule Poirot.  No sign of Miss Marple either.  You won't even find Tommy and Tuppence in this one!  All the characters are unknown, and the story is very interesting.  I'm so glad I read the book before watching this particular movie, because the ending is a MAJOR surprise, and makes the book one of my favorites.  I've read that this story is Agatha Christie's favorite as well! 

While watching both movies, I'll be knitting a project that involves Miss Marple.  The pattern is the "Diddle Dumpling" baby sweater from a vintage Bairnswear pattern book.  There is a nice little story involved in this project.  It's a MYSTERY even!  :D

A few years ago, I was watching a Miss Marple episode on PBS called "A Caribbean Mystery".   Joan Hickson was playing the part of Miss Marple, and did a great job (as usual).  During the show, the cameraman took a shot of Miss Marple knitting a baby sweater.  The camera view was over her shoulder, and I saw the actual knitting pattern in front of her!

Diddle Dumpling - Miss Marple Knitting

My eyes were immediately glued to the screen, and I noticed that the name of the pattern was "Diddle Dumpling".  I jumped up from my chair, and ran down the hall to look up the pattern on the internet.  But, I was disappointed.  No such pattern could be found.  Not even by doing a "dogpile" search! :(

Seque to 2011, and I was browsing Ravelry.  I was a member of a Ravelry group called "Mystery Book Talk", and mentioned that I wished I could find the "Diddle Dumpling" pattern.  Some of the members responded that other people had been searching for the pattern as well, with no luck.  We continued the discussion, and someone eventually figured it out!  She had a DVD of the episode, so she was able to watch the scene over and over again.  After several viewings, she decifered the name that was at the top of the pattern page - BAIRNSWEAR.  Then, she searched for Bairnswear patterns on the internet.  Finally, she found the actual Diddle Dumpling pattern!!  We all rejoiced!!!

Diddle Dumpling is in this book

Pattern Book:  Bairnswear #107
Link to purchase pattern: The Vintage Knitting Lady

Ravelry Pattern Page: "Diddle Dumpling"

I've decided to knit my sweater, using some vintage 100% wool in my stash.  It's called "Rochelle Sweater & Sock Yarn", and is a lovely turquoise color.  I think it will make a sweet cardigan. :)

Rochelle Sweater Sock

I've only knit a tiny portion so far, but I'm loving how it looks.
Cast On - vintage baby sweater

If I can pay attention to the pattern tonight, I hope to get further along in the pattern.  But, those two movies might just peel my eyes away from my knitting.

Talk soon!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sandy's Candy - Almonds, White Chocolate, Peanut Butter, etc.

Tonight, I had a sweet tooth. And there was not a cookie or piece of candy to be found in the whole house. I had already had a bowl of cereal, and I didn't want another one.

So, I looked through the cupboards and found some things I thought would work together well in a recipe. I was in a hurry to have it made, so I didn't want to spend 30 minutes looking through recipe books, or surfing the internet recipe boards. SO, I just started throwing things together. Luckily, it turned out very well!

Almond Peanut Butter Oat Sugar Delight
I started out by melting 16 ounces of white chocolate in the microwave. When it was melted, I poured it into a medium mixing bowl. Next, I grabbed a jar of peanut butter and dug out a very large spoonful to mix with the white chocolate. Then, I walked over to the cabinet over the sink, and chose a can of cocoa. I then stirred up the white chocolate and peanut butter, with a generous spoonful of cocoa.

When this was well blended, I poured in an entire can of whole natural almonds. This looked pretty good, but it wasn't thick enough. So, I reached over and opened a big container of whole oats, pouring in about a cup and a half. After stirring all that together, it was looking much better. Just the right consistency.

Standing there, looking at the big bowl of gooey goodness, I wondered what I should do next. It tasted great, but I wanted it to be easier to eat. I mean, I could just stand there and keep eating it with a big spoon, but I knew it would start to harden up after awhile. :P

SO, I tore out a large sheet of waxed paper, and poured the entire bowl out on it. It made a big pile....not too appetizing. Next, I tore out another sheet of waxed paper, and placed it on top. Then, I smushed it down, until it was spread out evenly all over the paper. It was easy to do, since it was between two sheets of waxed paper.

Then, I decided to let it sit and harden. I watched Netflix while I waited, and licked the bowl clean. Yum!

After about 30 minutes, my treat was set. At first, I thought I would just cut it into smaller pieces, and store it in a covered bowl. But, then I remembered that I had some confectioners sugar in the cabinet. So, I cut the candy into pieces, and then put about a dozen pieces at a time in a small ziploc bag filled with the confectioners sugar. After shaking the bag around, I took out the pieces and placed them in a bowl. NOW it was finished. Just beautiful! I picked up a piece and popped it in my mouth. OH YUM!!!

Now, I just need to come up with a name for it. Almond Oat Delight? Almond Sugar Bites? Almond Peanut Butter Oat Sugar Heaven? (tee-hee)

Here are the ingredients:

16 ounce package of white chocolate for melting
8 ounce container of whole natural almonds
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups whole oats
1/2 cup confectioners sugar