Monday, April 30, 2012

On the Eve of May Day

Tonight, we are going to a huge bonfire in celebration of the eve of May Day.  The lore behind the tradition gets murky and could lead to an uncomfortable conversation about religion; suffice it to say that on the final evening of April, bonfires are lit to burn away the last vestiges of bitter winter before spring is rung in the following day.  Tomorrow, if we were to follow Czech tradition, we would have to go kiss under a blooming tree.

I am really excited because May is one of my favorite months.  To start with, May Day is my favorite holiday to celebrate at nursery school.  Christmas and Easter are great for older children, but they come with complex backstories that are too much for the young child to grasp.  Halloween is fun for some but terrifies others.  Equinoxes and solstices celebrate the start of seasons which children love watching the changes of.  However, the start of the season does not necessarily coincide with what children associate with that season (it does not always snow before the 21st of December and it is often still summery in late September).  

May Day is very obvious to children.  Spring weather is in full swing, the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and we should celebrate by being outside.  There is no tale to remember or lesson to learn; it is simply about enjoying what you experience.  

The rest of May brings some of my favorite things:

The Prague Beer Festival!

Brunches on Patios

The birthdays of two of our nearest and dearest friends:


Afternoons in the Park

Field Trips with My Little Ones
May this year also means a weekend trip to Olomouc, Amy completing her Master's, and hopefully a few trips to the farmer's market.  We look forward to a busy month with plenty of blog posts.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Yes Burger

Yes Burger, Prague

A Mini-Review

Yes Burger, Seifertova 14, Prague 3 (Žižkov)
When Yes Burger opened last year, word of mouth was instantaneous.  Everyone was talking about the place by Husinecka tram stop where you can get a burger meal for under 100 crowns (~$5).  I've been there a few times and I need to say the hype is totally worth it.

Yes Burger Stats 
Type of Restaurant: Burger Joint
Cost: Incredibly Affordable 
Service Type: Order at the register for take-out or to stay, servers will bring food to your table
Dining Area: Really small
Location: Seifertova 14, Prague 3
Nearby Tram Stops: Husinecka, Lipanska

The menu includes basic burgers, chicken fingers, and fries but also all sorts of burger toppings and vegetarian choices.

After somehow choosing your burger from the endless menu on the wall, you go up the counter to place your order.  The dining room is really small so you might not get a table.  No worries because there are plenty of parks nearby to have a burger picnic in! 

We managed to get seats yesterday and enjoyed looking at the eclectic decor.

There are displays of Lord of the Rings figurines, artistically arranged Pokemon cards, and vintage advertisements. 

As for our food, we all got burgers.  Here's Lucy, enjoying her cheeseburger and fries. 

Amy got the same.  A cheeseburger meal (with fries and a soda) is only 92 crowns--significantly less than you would spend at McDonald's and completely worth the trip to Žižkov.

I got a burger meal (no cheese, 88 crowns).  The burger itself was definitely high quality beef and cooked to a really nice "medium" instead of the well-done you frequently find in Prague.  I would equate the size to what you would find at a backyard barbecue--not fast food small but not diner big.  The bun was nothing to write home about, but still good.  There was a bit too much lettuce but the veggies in general were fresh and well-prepared.  Amy commented that they actually know how to slice red onions, shaved paper thin, so that they are not overwhelming.  The fries were pretty standard, hot and crispy. 

I've also had the chicken fingers in the past which were totally delicious.  I'm not sure why, but they come with salsa.  

The bottom line is: good burgers, ridiculously cheap.  If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood, go for sure!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hooray For The Internet!

It's been a crazy week, but I still managed to spend time surfing the web. Here are a few of the lovely things I have found on the internet this week! Hope you enjoy them.

I have been saving up my wine corks for this project!
via Crafty nest
Love the details of this arch.
via Keltainen talo rannalla
Beautiful travel photo by Ruth Orkin, the photographer famous for the iconic photograph 'American Girl in Italy'.
via Ruth Orkin Photo Archive
The last few days have been sweltering, I would like to cool down in this snow covered cabin.
via Deco Photo Blog
Tutorial for this fox lamp. Love this little guy!
via Matsutake
The Mad Hatter collection via Shabby Apple is so cute!
Love this dollhouse!
via Making it Lovely
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies, yummy!
via Recipe Girl
My niece would love this elephant hamper.
via Amazon
This photo was taken in Lauterbrunnen, Switerland in 1950. The town is famous for the amazing waterfall in the background. I will be taking my first trip to Switzerland this summer. I hope it is all this gorgeous!
via National Geographic

<3 Amy

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hooray for the Internet!

Mid-spring and a lack of upcoming holidays means a significant slow-down in blogosphere but here are some of the things I came across this week.

Doily-Print Fabric  on How About Orange
This blogger, Jessica Jones, was a bit disappointed about how making doily prints on fabric with photo-sensitive dye turned out.  I love this faded result better than if it turned out to have perfect, crisp edges.  I want to do this myself!

Layered Skirt Tutorial on Dana Made It
Via Wee Wonderfuls
Obviously this is a tutorial for a kid's skirt.  Nevertheless, it could be converted to an adult and I am not ashamed to wear ruffles or seersucker.

Hazel the Humpback Whale Pattern by Bec Brittain
Who doesn't want to knit a humpback whale?

Maps of the USA by Relative Green-ness  on Upworthy
I like this one.  There's another one that's much less up-lifting. Follow the link at your own discretion. 

Vintage Kitchen on Heart Handmade
via Kireei
I could live here.

Stenciled Watercolors on Grow Creative
As a teacher, I am four square against using stencils with young children--limiting the creative potential and all that.  However, as an adult, I can use stencils all I want!  And I would do this for making stationary or something.  

Rainbow Connection on Handmade Charlotte
This image fills me with joy.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Turbinado Sugar Lemon Squares

Recipe for Turbinado Sugar Lemon Squares

Preface: We have been watching a lot of Queer As Folk.  The Liberty Diner, where the gang is wont to while away the pre-clubbing, evening hours, is famous for its lemon squares which Deb offers up as a cure-all.  Every time these come across the screen, I find myself desperately craving them, washed down with the obligatory Jones Soda with its label strategically hidden.

This recipe is based on Lemon Bars on Smitten Kitchen.  I halved the recipe because there are only two of us to eat them.  They are very brown because we use mostly turbinado sugar in our household.

A quick note on cooking with a lemon: Lick it.  That's right.  Before you do anything with your lemon, cut it in half and lick it.  Some lemons are stronger than others, some are surprisingly bitter (which you would do well to just toss and grab another).  Adjust the measurements for juice based on how strong your lemon tastes.

A note on small batch pan size: Unless you have a very small baking sheet or pan (about 9x7.5 inches) you will have to make do by lining a larger pan with parchment paper and creating an extra wall.  You could also use heavy duty aluminum foil for this purpose, though I'm always afraid of it sticking to my food.

Turbinado Sugar Lemon Squares

For the Shortbread Crust:
1/2 cup butter (room temp.)
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt

For the Lemon Curd Layer:
3 eggs
zest of two lemon
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup juice (about the juice of one and a half lemons)
1/3 cup flour

Additional icing sugar for dusting

Make the shortbread crust as follows:

Using an electric mixer, cream butter and icing sugar on high until pale and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture while mixing on low, until just combined.  The dough may be very crumbly.  Using hands, gather together into a ball.  Do not overwork or dough will become too soft.  

Place ball in the middle of prepared pan and squash down.  Press dough into corners and flatten with hands.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F (170 C).

Remove from refrigerator and bake 15-20 minutes, until just barely browned.  Remove but do not turn off oven.

While the crust bakes, prepare lemon curd layer.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, zest, and lemon juice.  Whisk with a fork.  Gradually add flour and whisk until no clumps remain.

Pour lemon curd over crust and bake 25-30 minutes.  Check to make sure that the curd layer has set and return to over for about 5 more minutes.  Let cool completely.  Cut into squares.

Before serving, dust with icing sugar.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hair Bows, Two Ways

Knitting Patterns for Hair Bows

Two Ways to Knit Hair Accessories

After dyeing some yarn yellow with turmeric (see tutorial here) I had to come up with something to do with it.  I decided to knit some hair bows because I thought the yellow would go well with my dark hair.  I made up the patterns as I went along and here I am to share them with you!  I've never written a knitting pattern before, so feel free to make suggestions for changes.

Hair Bows, Two Ways

You will need for both patterns:
A small amount of light weight yarn (sock or sport works well)
Set of 4 DPNs of an appropriate size (this chart has great recommendations), I used 3mm
Yarn needle
Alligator clip or bobby pins

Both bows are knit in two pieces: a body and a center strap.  Finishing instructions differ for the two bows. Seed Stitch Bow is knit flat for both pieces while Stockinette Bow is knit in the round for the body and flat for the center strap.

Seed Stitch Bow

Make body of bow as follows:

Using two needles, cast on 7 stitches.

Row 1: k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Repeat Row 1 until work is double the desired length of hair bow.  Mine was about 18 cm (7 in) long.  Bind off.

Make center strap as follows:

Using two needles, cast on 5 stitches.

Row 1: k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

Repeat row until strap is desired length.  To check, wrap around the middle of the body.  The strap should gather the bow so should be tight around it.  Mine was about 5.5 cm (2 in) long.  Bind off.


Seam together cast-on and bind-off rows of body.  Lay body flat so that the seam is in the middle of the back.  Wrap strap around the center of the body, over the seam, and seam together cast-on and bind-off rows.  Weave in ends.  If you have an alligator hair clip, you can sew or hot-glue it onto the back.  If not, use bobby pins to secure bow in hair.

Stockinette Bow

Make body of bow as follows:

Using two needles, cast on 14 stitches. Distribute stitches onto three needles and join to knit in the round.  Place marker to indicate end of round.

Round 1: knit to end of round

Repeat Round 1 until work is double the desired length of hair bow.  Mine was about 19 cm (7.5 in) long.  Bind off.

Make center strap as follows:

Using two needles, cast on 5 stitches.

Row 1 (RS): knit to end
Row 2 (WS): purl to end

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until strap is desired length.  The center strap will not be used to gather the bow very much so should be as long as double the width of the body.  My body was 3 cm (1 in) wide so my strap was 6 cm (2 in) long. Bind off.


Seam together cast-on and bind-off rounds of body.  Lay body flat so that the seam is in the middle of the back.  Using scrap yarn, gather body around the middle using running stitch (good tutorial here). Wrap strap around the center of the body with WS down, over the seam, and seam together cast-on and bind-off rows.  Weave in ends.  If you have an alligator hair clip, you can sew or hot-glue it onto the back.  If not, use bobby pins to secure bow in hair.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hooray For The Internet!

This week has been full of presentations, work, thesis writing, and job applications. Despite the busy schedule, I managed to find a few things that put a smile on my face! Hope you enjoy my links for the week.

Really easy DIY for these awesome necklaces.
via Stripes + Sequins
I am loving everything about this outfit. Too bad yellows are not meant for my freckled skin and blonde hair.
via Fancy Fine
DIY for chalkboard label for your baking supplies. Love this idea, you can easily change the tag if you need to.
via Paper planes and Mary Janes
This recipe for creamy chicken and kale pizza looks tasty!
via Secondhand Sundays
These two are adorable in their chairs. <3
via Keltainen Talo Rannalla
I am in love with this dress. Too bad it is sold out right now.
via ModCloth
Redone couch with fabric paint.
via Design Sponge

<3 Amy

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hooray for the Internet!

Another week, another collection of delightful things I've found on blogs and Pinterest!

Knitting the World Together by Bonnie Kate Wolf
found via CRAFT
I have obviously chosen the Atlantic Ocean view of the world because of my love of New York and Europe. There are plenty of other views on the artist's website!

Plain Tunic by Pickles

I'm always excited to see a new pattern from Pickles, one of my favorite knitting sites!  Their designs tend to feature double-stranded patterns that knit up quickly with a minimalist aesthetic.  Best of all, they are often free (at least in one size).  

Wood-burned Caddy by Becca Thornton
on Natural Kids
As a nursery school teacher, the uses I have come up with for a wooden caddy are endless. A touch of Peter Rabbit could never hurt, either!

Rolling Stamp from a Potato on Kireei
Another idea for nursery school teachers.  All you need to make rolling stamps is a potato, a straw, and a knife.  My children can never get enough of rolling stamps and this would be great for making all sorts of designs. 

Play House on Kaunis Pieni Elämä 
Another thing I would love for my nursery school is this child's room.  The play house and laundry accessories are just what my classroom needs!  Young children should live in a world of beautiful and useful things.

Floating Teepee on Tiny House Blog
Sometimes, students get sick of dorm life and decide to live in teepees on rafts made using a fair number of beer kegs.  Or, at least, one of them did.

Tin Tile Dishwasher on Restyled Home

Appliances need not be given a faux-cabinet look in order to get a visual upgrade! 

Doilie-inspired Embroidery on Cafe Cartolina
I cannot tell if Cafe Cartolina is the original source of this but let's just say it is.  To not state otherwise would just be bad manners.

Hope you find these links inspiring or at least entertaining!