Thursday, December 31, 2015

Some Knitting

I have done quite a bit of knitting in the past few weeks.  The most substantial thing that I finished is a Common Bean shawl designed by Caitlin ffrench.  I knit mine in Bernat Wool-up Bulky in green and rust.  It worked up quick and was fun to make.
Common Bean Back View
Common Bean Side/Front View

After I finished, I had most of the skein of rust colored yarn left so I used it to make afghan squares for a Warm Up America afghan.  When I ran out of the rust Wool-up, I moved on to another bulky yarn. The squares are 7 x 9 inches, more or less, and are knit in different patterns from the Stitchopedia app for I-pad.  

Warm Up America Squares

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Origami Boxes, a review

I received a copy of Origami Boxes Super Paper Pack by Maria Noble to review.  The pack comes with a 32-page instruction booklet with instructions for making a variety of small boxes.  The instructions are clear and easy to follow.   The pack includes 232 pages of double sided patterned paper in a variety of colors and patterns.  The papers coordinate with each other and there is a wonderful selection of different patterns and color combinations.

This is a good beginner's kit and would be lots of fun for a young person or for an adult who would rather fold paper than color to relax.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas means cookies, lots and lots of cookies

The baking started with the Fremont Public Library Cookbook Club Meeting on December 8.  The cookbook for this month was A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies by Dede Wilson.  We had an unofficial cookie exchange and I brought gingerbread bars and snickerdoodles.  The book was hit although most people with a favorite recipe plan to stick with their own.  The no-bake cookies were popular and there were gluten free options.  Everything was delicious.  

Next up was baking for the PADs meal on the third Sunday of the month.  I try to provide a generous dessert that is ready to serve.  I make things that someone could take with them and save for later.  For December, I made a lot of peanut butter blossoms with red and green colored sugar on them and camp fire cookies full of chocolate, graham cracker crumbs and marshmallows.  The peanut butter blossoms came out perfect and festive looking.  The campfire cookies were not as pretty, but I heard that they were still popular.

Then I continued baking for the cookie exchange I held at my house, for family gifts, and for friends.  I was talked into selling a platter of cookies and brownies in a charity auction again this fall, so I made a variety of cookies and brownies.  The final selection included date/oat bars, little spice cookies with lemon frosting, whipped shortbread with pecans, kalatzchen from Grammy Baugh's recipe from the mid 1800s, dried cranberry and oatmeal cookies, my father's favorites from an old Milwaukee Power and Light Company recipe, and chocolate crinkles.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mini-mittens for Advent Calendar
Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  December starts on Tuesday and with it the count down to Christmas Day.  When the kids were young, I had two Playmobil Advent calendars and we would take out a toy every day, or sometimes multiple toys to catch up, and build a holiday scene.  I loaned both of them to a young woman with a 3 year old son who is very excited by all things Christmas.

I am making myself a more elegant calendar out of knitted,, miniature mittens.  I think I can make 25 of them and find something to hang them on between now and Christmas eve.  I want to fill them with activities to mark the season so I have been looking at on-line lists.  I found a Unitarian Universalist Advent Calendar created by the Reverend Ralph Yeager Roberts, the United Church of Christ's Weekly Seeds with Bible readings and commentary, and a variety of lists of family focused events.  I ended up making up my own list that incorporates the various parties and activities that I have planned, other holidays, and trips to different museums and concerts in the local area.  I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chipotle Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Chutney

This year, I decided to stay home for Thanksgiving on my own.  I didn't make turkey or any traditional side dishes, instead I spent part of the afternoon experimenting with cranberry recipes.  I tried two of the five cranberry sauces featured on the Tasting Table. On the left is a pureed cranberry sauce with chipotle peppers and lime juice, it has a substantial kick and looks like cranberry red catsup.  On the right is a cranberry chutney with a delicate balance between spicy and sweet.  I also made Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread using Melissa Clark's recipe from the New York Times.  Baking the gingerbread made the whole house smell like holiday baking.  Despite claiming not to be a fan of cranberries, my daughter keeps eating it and any unattended scraps are quickly scarfed up by one of the dogs.