Saturday, December 13, 2008

Like Riding a Bike

Knitting is sort of like riding a bike. Well, sort of.

Remember these projects? They're finally finished! Yes, it took me almost 1 year to complete.

I was getting the knitting itch again but first wanted to finish certain things I already had on my needles (to make room for more...)

Funny how you can pick up a project and either completely forget where you left off or pick up just where you left off. Do you notice anything different about the gloves above? The opening for the thumbs - one is vertical and one is horizontal. Oops.

But once they're on, you don't notice the mistakes. And heh, it goes with the name of the knit pattern: mistake rib! They're from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

And my socks, which will always remind me of the Grateful Dead, are from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. Picot Edged socks with a few minor variations on how to pick up stitches in a more pretty fashion.

Now... onto some more last minute knitted projects for Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming

Two days ago, we had a ladies Christmas dinner at church. Apparently each year, the dinner has a theme with each individual table decorated according to that theme. This year's theme was 'Christmas Carols'. A friend (thanks, Kristen!) and I decorated our table with a white tablecloth, red dishes, silver utensils, fancy flowered wine glasses and white coffee mugs. In the middle was a clear vase filled with bare branches & red and cream colored roses. We sprinkled rose petals on the tablecloth, set a felt rose pin at each place setting and printed out our Christmas carol on shimmery gold paper, tied up scroll-fashion with a red ribbon.

Why did I tell you this in detail? Because... I forgot to take my camera. In my haste (I also made the main dish for 80 ladies) to get to the church on time, I arrived camera-less. Oh well. What I really wanted to show you were the rose pins, so I made a few more yesterday. They are very easy to make. I followed the basic instructions from here but made them into individual pins rather than a 'pomander'. The ones I made were hot-glued together, but if I made them again, I think I would take the time to hand sew them.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bearly There

Working on

some new bags...

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Corn & Oats

These did not last more than an hour!
I had to fend off hungry children
so that there would be some left for my husband.

Well, the not-making-another-post-about-food didn't last too long. I spent most of the day schooling and cleaning up my photos on the computer - all 8000+ of them! Ridiculous. I need to be better about printing and deleting. Also storage. What does everyone else do for storage? On a cd?

Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand: food. After seeing some of A Friend to Knit With's cookies of recent, I began rummaging through my recipe box and found 2 recipes that I haven't made for 12...13..14 years? Can't remember exactly. One is Orzo Corn Chowder and the other are Scotch Teas. Both are delicious and easy to make, especially the cookies, which taste very butterscotch-y, hence the name. Enjoy!

This tastes very creamy
but made without heavy cream or butter.

Orzo Corn Chowder
3/4 cup dry orzo
1/4 lb bacon (or a 2 oz. pkg of bacon bits)
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced or about 1 Tbsp dry (approx)
1- 32 oz. container chicken broth
2 1/2 cups milk (1% or 2%)
1 - 12 oz. pkg. frozen corn, thawed
A few shakes of ground pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp flour

1. Cook orzo in water, drain.
2. While orzo cooks, brown bacon in big pot. Drain grease. (I omitted this bacon step because I only had bacon bits handy & ended up throwing them in the pot directly with all else.)
3. Add onion & parsley & cook until onion is soft.
4. Add orzo and everything else (except flour) to pot.
5. Bring to boil VERY SLOWLY.
6. Put 2 Tbsp flour in small bowl with about 3/4 cup water, stir, then add to pot. Stir well.
7. Eat or keep until next day.
Variation: can add a pinch or two of cayenne, maybe some diced red peppers, doctor the spices?

Note to Self: Make a Double or Triple Batch next time.

Scotch Teas (Oatmeal Cookies)
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats
(or 4 packets of instant plain oatmeal that none of my kids want to eat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 8" x 8" pan with pam or grease it. In medium saucepan over low heat, stir butter and sugar together until butter melts. Stir in oats, baking powder & salt. Fill the baking pan, flatten a bit. Bake about 20-25 min. After it comes out, let cool slightly and 'cut' into bars while still in pan. They do have to harden just a bit; otherwise they're mushy. (If you wait too long though, the cookies harden and are more difficult to cut.) Makes about 16 small cookies.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Crafty & Cool Giveaways

Giveaways 1-4: Head over to the Crafty Crow for some fun giveaways:

1. First, there's an organic bag & elephant from maya*made.

2. Second, there's a neat Christmas Craft mini book from Kids Craft Weekly.

3. Thirdly, there's a cute intricately patterned elephant softie kit from Louise Elliott Designs.

4. And lastly (for this Monday - Cassi has other giveaways), there a very useful Camera Strap slip cover from Shey (B).

Giveaway 5: Now Head over here to see if you can enter another giveaway... a Palm Centro from Molly's babycenterblogs.


Have you noticed that most of my previous posts of late have been about food or recipes? What's up with that you ask? Busy with schooling and teaching at our co-op leaves me little time for making other 'stuff'. At least my creative cooking serves a purpose: eating. Of course, that pastime is something I need to do less of, or so my hips whisper (scream?) to me.

Yes, a polka-dotted nutcracker.

So perhaps making other things should take precedence? It is December after all. Or should I rephrase that with...It's December???? (Where did this year go?) I did take some time last night to work on more bear bags and continue a half-finished knitting project that I started over six months ago. I'll show both those things soon, but for now, I leave you with a simple Christmas-y project my children did a few days ago... Nutcrackers.

We love the Nutcracker - the music, the story, the ballet, the little soldiers.
Never have used one for cracking nuts though...

A year ago, I purchased several wooden nutcrackers: unpainted, complete with hair and movable mouth (from Michael's in the dollar bin area) with the intention of having my children paint their own last Christmas... oh well.

My daughter has nicknamed hers: Einstein.

The kids had fun - even my 15 year old! I love how some are well-painted and some hastily so, making each one unique.

If you're looking for some other Nutcracker-themed ideas:

Martha has some great stocking stuffer items
(I remember these from years ago)
Nutcracker Stockings How-To (complete with templates)
A Nutcracker 'book' to read online
Cut, Color & Build your own Nutcracker Stage
Listen (and watch) the Nutcracker Suite (Part 1) and (Part 2)
Print out the Nutcracker March piano piece (intermediate)
Print out Waltz of the Flowers piano piece (intermediate)
Print out Trepak (Russian dance) piano piece (easy)
Nutcracker Ballet Lesson plan
Get the book from your Library Or read it online here.
Or get this version (with cd).
Listen to a Celesta (aka the sound of the sugar plum fairy)
Make some Chocolate Gingerbread Bars
Make sweet ornaments
Read about Clark's Nutcracker

I better stop now!

Monday, December 01, 2008

When Life Gives You Carrots...

... make carrot soup! Or at least attempt to.

Our poor neglected veggie garden should have been winterized quite sometime ago. My husband and sons were kind enough to clean the beds, pulling out roots and weeds and dead plants. The carrots that we had planted in the spring and had almost forgotten during September, October and most of November, were finally uprooted and brought lovingly into the house.

I decided to try out a carrot soup from this book. (except my book's the 'old' version) I altered a few things and made a nice big pot of it. My husband tried out a small bowl, and I took a sip from a spoon, thinking that the soup would probably taste better the next day if left in the fridge to 'marry' the flavors.

That would have been nice if one of us had remembered to actually refrigerate the soup overnight. I came down the next morning to see the big pot on the counter.

A brief conversation ensued:

"What do you think?"
"I don't know. What's your opinion?"

"We DID turn down the heat last night... maybe it's still okay."

"The bowl's still cold, the soup's colder... well, it's colder than room temp."

"I know... let's feed it to the kids first. If none of them get sick, we'll eat it!"

(That final sentence was uttered by my beloved by the way!)

Well, the soup met its reluctant demise. I thought all was lost until I spotted several sweet potatoes sitting forlornly in the potato basket! Anyone up for sweet potato soup?