Saturday, January 30, 2010

The New Cookie

Dear Mom,
The cookie recipe for this week is from one of Diane Mott Davidson's culinary mystery books.  Title of the book unknown--oops.  I was clearly more interested in the cookies and not so much the mystery.

Vanilla-Frosted Fudge Cookies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 egg whites, unbeaten
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2-3 Tbsp. skim milk
additional unsweetened cocoa powder

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together; set aside.  Mix together the oil, sugar, 1 tsp. of the vanilla and the egg whites until well combined.  Stir in the flour mixture.  Chill 1 hour.
When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large non-stick cookie sheet with vegetable oil spray.  Using a 1/2-tablespoon measure, scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and cooked through.  Do not overcook.
Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.  Mix together the confectioners' sugar, skim milk and remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla until pasty.  Add skim milk if necessary.  Spread a small amount of vanilla frosting on each cookie.  Put the cookies back on the rack, dust lightly with cocoa powder and allow the frosting to dry. Makes 4 dozen cookies

So now the "real" process.  I used bigger than 1/2 tsp. scoop so this batch only made 2 dozen cookies.  We also didn't dust with cocoa powder because we wanted to eat them right away; no allowing the frosting to dry!!!  These cookies didn't last an hour in the house.  They were delicious!!!!  Soft in the center; crispy on the edges.  Sweet all over.  I will makes these cookies again and again, probably with the same results---gone in under an hour!!
The Diva made the frosting and Pippers did the actual frosting.

I want to thank everyone for their kind, sweet comments from yesterday.  It is some kind of wonderful knowing that we are all strong women that can lift each other up with kind words and deeds.
In the top picture, the Diva is wearing a sweater ("Libby") that I knit from a pattern designed by one of my favorite blogging friends. My New Friend To Knit With (please come and knit with me; we can bake cookies together, share a coffee and everything really will be okay--thank you so much for that encouragement!)!!  I finished the sweater this week and have been waiting for a sunny day so I can take pictures (may be awhile).  I LOVE the sweater and the pattern is uber fabulous . . . . I can't wait to "show it off" on the blog soon.
Go make these cookies; eat them up!  Enjoy your weekend!!

How I've Learned You Can Never Say Never - OR - Is He Still My Hero?

Dear Mom,
You might think that after all those years working for the pedodontist- the years before I became a mother when I boldly stated on hundreds, perhaps even thousands of occasions, "My kids will NEVER do that!" that after becoming a mother and eating most of those bold statements, I would have learned to never say Never.
As in, "I will never have another puppy."

Except My Hero (is he still My Hero?) must not have been listening because he came home from work with this.

Yes, it is the classic Puppy in the Dark on the Side of a Busy Street Story. Found by someone who couldn't keep her (of course), given to someone in an apartment and at work all day (of course) and that journey brought her to our house.

To say that things are turned upside down is an understatement. We can't even decide on a name for her.

But she already has someone who loves her.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Just That Kind of Week. Oh! And Some Cookies

Dear Mom,
It. Has. Been. A. Week.
I love to blog and to read blogs.  But I am more the don't-like-to-feel-the-pressure-of-saying-too-much-or-trying-to-say-something-profound/intellectual/creative/funny-or-reading-too-many-words-on-another's-blog-so-I-would-rather-look-at-pictures-and-be-refreshed-type of blogger (so says the photographer!)!!  Except Today.  I'm making an exception.
Ya know how you can go along, trying to keep everything together?  And one thing, however trivial--or big--it may be and then you just burst into tears?!  Yep.  My week.  I am the first to admit (and Kim and Bonnie Jo will certainly not argue this!) that I cry.  I cry and pout and fuss and worry.  And cry again.  Until I need to be strong.
The husband took another paycut.  30% paycut in 1 year.  Big.  Huge, actually.
I have been picking up hours at the yarn store.  I have been knitting and sewing to try to earn extra money.  I have been on interviews for other part-time jobs.  I have been reminding past photo customers that Spring is right around the corner! I even went to a temp agency where, after 13 years of being a stay-at-home-Mom and having nothing to do with my "pretend life" of being a Legal Secretary for 11 years BEFORE the kids came, I STILL scored the highest scores in Excel, Word and keyboarding that that particular office has seen . . . (a testament to the quality of my education at Indiana Business College?  Or worse--a testament to my "competition"?!)  I got to boast of my abilities and how, when I graduated with honors from Indiana Business College, I was typing 110 wpm on a real typewriter since, in 1986, computers were usually in another separate room since they were too big to do anything but beep and flash and occasionally spit something out (after much sputtering!) from a printer in another different room.
I have already learned frugal with the first paycut.  I like to think of myself as "green" but really, just frugal because I need to be.  You know, hang the clothes on a line in the basement so I don't have to use the dryer (it's green not to use the dryer!  I'm saving the environment!); the girls and I handwash dishes so we can spend good quality time together (which is really true; but it's also true that the dishwasher is broken!); our thermostat is set at a chilly 63 degrees because that's good for the environment, too.  And honestly, our house is very warm because we are blessed with a nicely insulated house and sunshine streaming through windows (and on a side note--we have saved over $75 a month in gas/electric--it really does work!).  We also have fires in our fireplace and I am a knitter, for goodness' sake!  We wear those sweaters!  We don't eat out.  We  frequent the library weekly for movies, books, magazines (which we've always done anyway so that probably doesn't count on my journey to frugality!)
Not to be one of those wordy-need-to-make-a-point-bloggers but I wanted to re-emphasize that I'm holding it together.  Holding. It. Together.  Job interviews, managing money, creatively grocery shopping and meal planning, working at the yarn store, being a Mom--on one of the many days off of school, we made candles together (not to use in place electricity--yet!).  We do homework and play Monopoly and chess.  We bake cookies (you know--we're actually a family).  I am a friend.  I have a neighbor with MS and I sit with her on Monday afternoons.  I help her do light things that she isn't able to do herself anymore.  I have another neighbor that is hosting an exchange student from Denmark.  Anne-Sofie is having a birthday next week so I knit her a pair of socks (from my stash yarn!) because her mother knits her socks.  A small reminder of home.   I also keep the house (fairly decently) clean (okay, maybe not that so much).  I was able to finally put together packages and mail them to you and Kim and Bonnie Jo.  I was woefully and dreadfully late on the thank-you notes from Christmas but a bit proud of myself that I was only 1 day late in getting the birthday package to Kim.
Are you getting that I am busy but surviving?!  And surviving with panache and gusto, if I may say so!!  I like to think that I am a fairly "normal" Mom in this day of busyness.  So-------yesterday.  Still holding it together.  No tears shed from me, nuh-uh.  Not gonna cry.  Except that I got an email.  A reminder that I have been a disappointment to a friend in another state.  I cried.  Isn't life hard enough?  Rather than remind one another of  how we, as humans, are continually going to disappoint and fall short of grand perfection, can't we be friends that encourage and can say, "It's going to be okay".  I have painted above my front door this quote, "Don't Live Down To Expectations!  Go Out There And Do Something Remarkable!"  Every morning I give my husband and children a kiss, a hug and an "It's Going To Be Okay; Do Something Remarkable" pep talk as they go out that front door.  Really, isn't that what our lives should be about?!  Having friends that help us hold it together?  Giving that pep talk?  The cheerleading; the encouragement?  The smile?  The belief that everything really IS going to be okay?!  Don't we all go through our own rough moments but survive them with panache and gusto because we have friends all over the world that walk with us?
I guess I am trying to say in my very wordy way that it's very hard to hold it together all of the time.  To be the cheerleader for the husband and the children.  When do I get to have my breakdown?!?!  And when that breakdown opportunity comes, I'll probably be too tired to have one!!  So--can't we just be friends?!
p.s.  I did make a cookie of the week.  I'll post that tomorrow.  My eyes are glazed over with so many words . . . hope yours aren't!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

March issue is out

Dear Mom,
The March issue of Creative Knitting magazine arrived yesterday, and in it on page 34 is my Spring Break sweater.

And last night, after a birthday dinner and some DQ ice cream cake, I finished this while knitting beside the fire.

Hot Water Bottle Cozy #2.
This one is for the Young Lady.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Kim!

Kimberly Ann was born on January 27, 1961.

A happy baby.



Kim was the typical oldest child...obedient, reliable, responsible, high achiever, and bossy!! :-)

First Grade


Kim with her new guitar - Christmas 1974

1975 - Doing knee bends with Wendy.  Dig the groovy sleeping bag.  Is Kim wearing an Elton John T-shirt?

Sewing (1976)

1976 - Lookin' good in gaucho pants and boots!  (I think this was one of Kim's hand-made outfits.)

Could this possibly be the first photo of Kim knitting (1979)?!!!

Daddy's girl - 18th birthday

Carmel High School Class of 1979

A new mom in March 1994


"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been." - Mark Twain

"The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune." - English Proverb

"The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age." - Lucille Ball
And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.
Love, Bonnie Jo

Sock #4

Dear Mom,


Inside out Thin Mints

Dear Mom,
As part of our weekly routine, the Young Lady and I bake cookies on Sunday evenings while the boys are off playing hockey. The goal is to bake enough cookies to supply lunch boxes for the week. Any extras are bonus to be eaten through the week, and ususally do not make it past Wednesday. We are not too exotic with our recipes and have some favorites, but occasionally we try out new recipes.
This past Sunday, we tried what was a fairly easy recipe that we tried making easier so we wouldn't end up with chocolate up to our knuckles. We had a few "what if we tried this" and "oh! I know what we can do" moments and ended up with a really good, simple, no bake cookie.

We are calling them Inside Out Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies.

Here is what we did.

Dump one 12oz bag of Nestle's MILK Chocolate Chips (not semi-sweet) into a gallon-size zip lock bag. Add 2 or 3 drops of Peppermint extract. Seal the bag, squeezing out as much of the air as you can. Microwave the bag in 15 second increments, squeezing the contents after each round, until the chocolate is melted. This won't take long and you don't want to do the melting so fast that you end up melting the bag, because that would be a huge mess.
While the chocolate is melting, line the counter top with a generous piece of wax paper. Place a couple of sleeves of Ritz crackers in a single layer on the wax paper. Set aside the remaining 2 sleeves, but have them handy.
Once the chocolate is all melted, work the chocolate into one of the bottom corners of the bag and then cut a very tiny bit of this corner off, turning it into a kind of pastry bag. Squirt a blop of chocolate onto the center of each cracker and if you have a helper, have them follow behind you and place a second cracker on top of the warm chocolate. You will want to work fast enough to get all the chocolate out of the bag while it is still melty. If you are working alone, you can go back and add the top layer of crackers after you have used up all the chocolate. If the chocolate cools too fast on the crackers before you can add the second layer, stick them in the microwave for a few seconds to soften the chocolate and you are good to go.
Let the chocolate cool off and TADA! Inside Out Thin Mints.

This recipe is NOT intended to replace the real deal. When a Girl Scout comes to your door, on what is certainly going to be the coldest day of the winter, buy a box. It should be a law. I still bear the emotional scars of trying to sell cookies after Sheryl Place's mom got her out of school early so she could canvas the entire neighborhood before we even got off the bus. I don't care how many boxes I've already purchased. If a Girl Scout comes to my door, I always buy one more box.


Monday, January 25, 2010

A year later and still learning

Dear Mom,
You might think that after this blogging thing has been going on for about a year, (I think tomorrow it the blog's birthday, but I am not going to stop posting to go check. Let's just roll with it.)  that I would be better at taking blog worthy photos when I am presented with them. After all, my camera goes with me just about everywhere. Except today. My Hero has my camera. He gets to view the real live Stanley Cup in person and this apparently is photo worthy. But what can I say. I take pictures of yarn. Regularly. So today, when I leave the house, it will feel like I forgot my phone or something. And that is a whole 'nother subject because it wasn't all that long ago that our phones were literally tethered to the walls of our houses, so leaving with out one shouldn't be cause for panic. I digress.
On Saturday, you and I had a wonderful day together, a delicious lunch and some fun antiquing. Did I take a photo of the charming restaurant? No. Or the big pot of tea I drank? No. The big pot of tea YOU drank? No. The lovely group of tea party ladies? No. That group was having F.U.N. We learned they are a group of 20+ women who meet once a month at different places for tea. They quickly let us know that they "Are NOT Red Hats!(which was pretty obvious due to the absence of red hats) Too many rules. Too fussy."  They only have 2 rules: Do not talk about work, and I can't remember what the other one was.
So, in all that fun and activity, what picture do I have to show for it?
This one. Taken in the antique shop.

A picture of the lunch box I carried around during most of our time there. This is a duplicate of my grade school lunch box. As you know, I almost bought this one. It brought back happy memories and clued me in to the possible root of why the combination of red and yellow makes me happy. Reason won out and I returned the lunch box to its proper booth. For now anyway. I could always go back.

Another feast for the eyes did occur very briefly yesterday. It had been so long (a month? longer?) since I've seen this that I stopped the car and took a picture.

See that? It is a tiny patch of actual BLUE SKY. We even got a peak of sunshine for about 3 minutes yesterday afternoon. Then it got dark and poured down more rain for the rest of the day.

And this was finished yesterday. My Colts football nervous energy knitting project::

A hot water bottle cozy. I will be making more of these, as soon as I find the hot water bottles. I may have to search every Walgreens and CVS in the township. I have looked 3 places and only scored 1 hot water bottle. I am on a mission. The Young Lady took it to bed with her last night, got warm and then stuck it in my bed for me. It was still warm this morning. I am in love. Everyone should have one of these.
I used this pattern and one skein of Lamb's Pride yarn. Isn't it cute?


Friday, January 22, 2010

Drama in the Coop!

Dear Mom,
Gloria has gone broody.  She sat on the golf balls...all night.  This morning, she was fiercely protecting her nest. 

Golda and Marge looked on as Gloria screeched at me and puffed out her feathers.  And if "looks could kill", then I might be dead. 

Since there is nothing for Gloria to "hatch", I will have to work with her to keep her off the nest.  We have some warmer days ahead, and I think a couple of field trips out in the back yard will do her some good!

Love, Bonnie Jo

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Not So Great

Dear Mom (and Kim),
The weather must be getting to the cookies, too.  My Martha's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies were . . . not so great.  When I think of oatmeal raisin cookies, I think of chewy on the inside, crispy edges, sugary, moist with raisins.  Martha's recipe calls for Wheat Germ.  . . . . . ick.  It was a long day and we are also getting freezing rain.  I wanted warm-fuzzy oatmeal raisin cookies.  These oatmeal raisin cookies were more "for your own good" cookies.

On a happy note, though:  in the midst of our financial aftershock--after the initial financial earthquake a year ago, this has been a week of much kindness from friends.  I have been struggling recently---really needing to find kindness, care and compassion again.  Kindness did come small, sweet as well as large and very unexpected.  I shared a warm muffin and a made-for-me espresso with a friend.  I had a friend bring some warm loaves of bread; another friend gave boxes of Pop-Tarts to the kids!!  Yet another friend shared columbine seeds for planting and still another friend GAVE me her refurbished Kitchen-Aid mixer!!!  To encourage me with my cookie of the week!!
I also have the best sisters that anyone could ask for.  Kim and Bonnie Jo are different from one another and yet they both encouraged me (the baby!) so that my heart grew three sizes this day!!  Thank you, Kim, for ordering pillowcases!  And thank you, Bonnie Jo, for ordering my photo notecards!!  Kisses and hugs to both of you!

Freezing rain

Dear Mom,
This day has been cold and icy and relentlessly damp enough that I found myself looking on the internet to see if they still make these:

They do.
I decided I would like buy lots of them and knit hot water bottle cosies and put one in every bed and give one to everyone I know.  It is too cold and rainy to go out looking to see if the local CVS has any in stock.
I think the weather might be getting to me.
P.S. A Batch of homemade cookies from Wendy's kitchen would warm me up, too!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sock #3

Dear Mom,
At this point I am wondering if the true challenge is not in getting the socks done, but in taking an interesting variety of pictures of them.
Sock #3 is Koigu yarn. The yarn label is lost and I can't tell anyone what the color is. I did a mock cable to spice up the boring bit of k2p2 ribbing, It was still boring. Seems I don't like ribbing much, no matter what I do to try to make it exciting. The leg of this sock is only as long as I could stand to keep at it, and only long enough not to be an anklet. This one may end up with a fraternal twin (same yarn, different pattern), I don't know if I have it in me to do another ribbing marathon.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Frozen Jeans and a Sweater Shaver

Dear Mom,
Today I learned how to remove a whole pack of gum that was stuck inside the pocket of a pair of jeans after going through a wash cycle.
Love, Bonnie Jo

more pretty stuff

Dear Mom,
I lost track of most of an evening spinning about half of the roving that Dianne sent to me.
This may be the prettiest stuff yet.

I draped it on the back of a dining room chair and spent some time admiring it yesterday while I knitted on a sweater. I am collecting pretty scarf and shawl patterns now- small projects and simple patterns that will show off the yarn.
Thanks to some Pacers basketball tickets and the Colts game over the weekend, I am ahead of the sock schedule. With the damp, grey weather, I just wish I could stay ahead of the mud.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Why I went back to bed this morning....

Dear Mom,
I am not going to blame the premiere of Project Runway on the few hours of sleep I got. I will admit that I got to bed later because of it, but it was the Loud Snoring that awakened me at 3:30 and kept me up. This time it was so loud that I stumbled down the hall to the guest room to try to get a little sleep before the alarm went off. For a moment there, I thought that the dog was going to follow me.
The rough night convinced me to go back to bed after the bus took my kids away. Not much convincing is needed to get me to do that, but this time I didn't feel so guilty about it.
Especially since it became clear to me, after yesterday, that I need my beauty sleep. Lots of it.
You see, I did a bit of running around after school, picking the Young Man up from an after school meeting, and then taking the Young Lady to and from Art Class. It must have been quota day for the local police, because twice The Young Lady and I saw drivers pulled over, getting tickets. The Young Lady didn't comment on the first driver. He must have looked like someone you would expect to see pulled over. The second driver was different.
"That was a Grandma!", the Young Lady announced. (Clearly Grandmas do not speed.)
"It was? Oh dear."
"Yeah, she was a little older than you, in her 50's."
"I AM ALMOST 50! I AM NOT A GRANDMA! Do I look like a Grandma?"
"NO, Mom, I said she was older than you. In her 50'ssss. Plus she had on big sunglasses."

Yep. Lots of beauty sleep.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just Four Ingredients!

Dear Mom,
This was a recipe I got from a friend that I met when the Teenager was in preschool!!  We make it A LOT in our house because it is stupid-easy.  Just 4 ingredients.  I'm not a chemist so I can't really explain just how these four ingredients can come together to make the most fabulous peanut butter cookies.  But these are the best. The Best! peanut butter cookies!  Ever!  And every time I pull out my recipe card, I laugh because written on the card are literally 4 ingredients.  And nothing else!
But enough already!

And here is the recipe:
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients together.  Drop by rounded teaspoonful on a cookie sheet.  Press down with a fork to make the fun cross-marks on the top of the cookie!  Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.
Seriously?!?!  About 2 minutes to mix everything together.
Go ahead!  Impress your family!  Your neighbors!  Your friends!  And then go make some more!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sock #2

Dear Mom,


Monday, January 11, 2010

Roving Report

Dear Mom,

On Saturday, I took CarolWhoseHouseGotStruckbyLightening up to Tabby Tree Weaver. She wanted to investigate the weaving and I wanted to look at more roving. We spent a couple of hours soaking in the fibery goodness and before we left, CarolWHGSbL signed up to take a weaving class.
I brought with me some roving that I found on sale from Yarnhollow and I wanted to check out the menu at Tabby Tree to see what I might ply it with. Thanks to the enablers   experts there, I found some mohair which I will combine with my bag o' wool, and then spin and ply it with the hand-dyed roving from Yarnhollow.

The rusty orange and turquoise are the mohair roving I purchased on Saturday. The bright multi-colored roving is the stuff I got from Yarnhollow and that spool has a little bit of the wool I spun from the bag o'wool.

Alice, who taught my spinning class, offered me the use of her drum carder. I am now on a mission to get all my wool washed and ready for the carder when I pick it up at the next Open Spin, in February. The drum carder will speed up the process of getting the wool ready to spin, and hopefully the roving I produce with the drum carder will be more consistent than what I am making with my hand carders.

It wasn't all spinning all weekend around here, though. In addition to working on sock #2, I started a sweater.

This will be for me. Another version of my Merry Poppins cardigan. I am test knitting my own instructions and tweaking the neckline a bit. I have the wool for a coordinating skirt. And the idea of a classic cabled cardigan in Navy is dancing around in my head. I'd better get knitting.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Good things

Dear Mom,
It is easy to lose track of the Good out there. Especially on bleak winter days, or every time you turn on the television. It is easy to feel alone, an alien on your own planet. That might be a clue to why I read my favorite blogs. They give me little peeks into the lives of other people who like and value the same sorts of things I do.
When we started this blog I didn't really think about the people peeking in here, to see what we do. I am surprised to find that I have made a couple of blog friends. Modern day pen pals.
One of these blog friends sent me a generous gift of roving from sheep on her farm.
Dianne has been very encouraging of my spinning. "I'd like to send you a fiber sample", she wrote.

This is a box with 8 oz of natural color roving for me to play with! I can't tell you how magical this box is to me. A kind and generous gift, from someone I never met, in a world that, if you pay attention to the news, is harsh and nearly hopeless. This box of soft wool is proof that it is not. That there are good people out there, doing quiet, caring things that might not seem much on the surface, but they are Little Things That Matter, things that warm the hearts of others.

And more proof that I am reeaaallllllyyyy liking spinning...... I did not knit ONE STITCH yesterday. I spent HOURS with my spinning wheel. And I am liking the yarn I spun so much that I can't decide what to do with it. I want whatever it is going to be to be Perfect.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Days and Warm Cookies

Dear Mom,
We are getting beautiful snow and it was a snow day for the kids.  So.  The girls baked.  Hmmmm our favorite cookies.  We did just enjoy these over Christmas break; Santa gets treated to these on Christmas Eve (or, in our house, Christmas morning since no one can go to sleep before 2:00 a.m. because of all of the excitement-even with threats and warnings that Santa doesn't come when children are wide awake!)  Anyhooo----Chocolate Crinkles!

Chocolate Crinkles
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, cocoa powder and sugar.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract.  In a medium-size bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Refrigerate the dough for approx. 2 hours (or--do what we did today--mix the dough, stick in the fridge; put all of your snowpants and coats and hats and gloves and scarves on; pull out the sleds.  Sled and play outside.  Come back in, take everything off. Drink hot chocolate and THEN the dough will be chilled!!)  Heat the oven to 350.  Form the dough into 1" balls and roll them in the confectioners' sugar.  Bake the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Try not to eat them all while they are still warm!!!
Enjoy your snow day, too!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sock #1

Dear Mom,
So far so good.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sunday's spinning

Dear Mom,
Here we have Elle modeling the results of Sunday afternoon's Open Spin at Tabby Tree Weaver.

This is about 130 yards of hand painted Merino from Yarnhollow, plied with a charcoal Merino wool from Hello Yarn. I still have more of each roving to spin and ply, so I may actually end up with enough yardage to make more than a hat- possibly a cowl and some fingerless mitts. Like this and these.

I haven't choked my vacuum cleaner yet, but I have emptied the canister a few times in my quest to get Back to Normal now that the kids are back in school. I didn't even mind the 6 o'clock alarm. And while I did not flit through the house singing to woodland animals and harmonizing with a blue bird perched on my shoulder, I sure felt like I could, such was the feeling of having the house to myself. Even if it is spent cleaning.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

The last and the first

Dear Mom,

This is the last project started and finished in 2009, another baby gift.

And this is the first knitting project, started and completed in 2010.

It is also my first knitting project using my own handspun yarn. It also demonstrates my lack of handspinning consistency, but I will defend some of those "inconsistencies" by stating that the entire project (except for the direct sheep care and shearing parts) was done by my hands. I washed and hand-carded the fleece and spun enough to knit the hat.

I don't generally make New Year's resolutions, but this year I am using the the New Year as an opportunity to get a grip on the yarn I have stashed away. Specifically, my sock yarn. It is just too easy to buy sock yarn. So, with that effort in mind, and after talking it over with GinaWhoCanParallelPark, I will state here, for the public record, that I will ( maybe, I hope) make One Sock per Week this year. Read that again. That is NOT one PAIR of socks. That says ONE SOCK. By year's end I should have 26 pairs of socks. I haven't taken sock yarn inventory, but I am pretty sure I have the stash to support my goal. Since I started a sock on New Year's Eve, I will make Wednesday my weekly sock deadline.


Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Dear Mom,
Happy New Year!  January 1 is always a time for reflection, rest, resolutions.
I'm not resolving to lose weight; I eat healthy and exercise daily.  I'm not resolving to save more money; we are extremely frugal (read:  cheap); I'm also not resolving to find the love of my life this year; I already have one of those, thank you very much.
My resolutions are more of the reflection-type.  I would like to actually knit with the yarn I have in my home already.  Oh the sweaters, socks and mittens that are just waiting to be made!  I would like to actually sew with the fabric I already have!  Oh the Amy Butler skirts, blouses and purses that are just waiting to be sewn!  I would like to actually paint the dining room with the paint I bought in August when I foolishly thought that since swim team was over, I'd have time to paint!  Same with the bedroom.  I would like to actually read those books that are waiting by my bedside.  I would like to be a bit more organized and try to control the clutter (read:  junk!) that comes into the house.
I have also decided to make a special cookie every week.  I love to bake.  I bake daily.  I bake with the kids and I bake for therapy.  I usually share my baked goodies with friends and neighbors.  I am going to share with you a different cookie that we have baked each week.  Starting today, on the day of all things new, this week's cookie is a white chocolate chip craisin cookie.  Serve them on your favorite polish pottery plate and eat them warm.  They go especially well with Monopoly.

White Chocolate Chip Craisin Cookies
3 c flour
1 tsp soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 c unsalted butter
1 c brown sugar
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs          
1 Tbls vanilla
1c crasins
1 1/2 c white chocolate chips
1 c chopped nuts (I use whatever kind of nut we have in the pantry!)

Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Slowly add the flour mixtures to the cream mixture. Stir until almost incorporated. Add the crasins, white chocolate, and nuts. Mix until everything is just together.

I rolled into heaping spoonfuls and bake at 350F for 11 minutes.

May your new year be filled with much happiness, love, laughter and cookies!