Friday, January 26, 2007

This Week and the Hat Are Both Finally Finished!

Here it is Friday. Yippee! It's been one, hectic week and I'm glad it's coming to a close. Wednesday was the worst day, probably ... my Dad had some after effects from his recent surgery and, just when that was clearing, Amelia called to tell me that the curling-iron-brush thing was stuck in her hair! YIKES! Why had she tried out the curling iron for the first time when I was not home?? (OK, I know she's almost 17-years-old, and not like a little kid experimenting with something, but still!) AAACCKKKK! I hurried home from my parents' house to help. Fortunately, she was not burned! And, she had only tried to curl the sides, so it was far from her scalp.
She had the presence of mind to unplug the thing and put an ice bag on her head while she waited for me!
Unfortunately, her hair was wound around the brush in clockwise and counter-clockwise twists ... completely tangled. (As an aside, this is a very strange phenomenon that has, admittedly, happened to me with round brushes, as well. Although you may think you are wrapping your hair in the same direction, for some reason it wraps frontwards and backwards onto the brush. I have had my own scary moments with round brushes and now never use them.) After carefully trying to unwind the hair (and I was able to save some), getting the scissors was our only solution. Yes, I had to cut out a chunk of her hair. (Photo of offending curling iron with hair will follow shortly.)
Overall, the hair cut doesn't look too bad, actually, now that it's done. We both agreed that her hair is simply too long to curl with one of those things. She has vowed never to try one again!
We had good news yesterday at the doctor's office. My Dad's tumors were low grade and non-invasive. This is what we had all been hoping for! Thank God for that!
Maggie, the beardie, still needs another course of antibiotics for her infections on her stomach, but she's happy and doing well. And the vet said the eye that has scleritis looks very good. Phew. What a relief!
As for knitting, well, I finally finished the hat that was supposed to be for my Mom. I put it in the washer to felt. The directions said to keep checking every five minutes. After only about 10 minutes, I decided the band looked like it was small enough, so I removed the hat and rinsed it. The top part was still huge (and I had stopped increasing long before the pattern had so directed) ... it looked like one giant pancake! My Mom, needless to say, did not like it at all! She tried to tell me this in a very tactful way. (I must admit, she has a very small head and this really swallowed her up!) So, feeling I could experiment now that it was a lost cause (yarn and two months' work down the drain *sniff), I threw it back into the washer for more shrinkage. It came out great! I still don't think it's exactly the style she was looking for, as it's more of a fashion hat ... kind of like a beret with a brim ... rather than an over-the-ears warm hat, if you know what I mean. Well, I put it on a bowl to dry. You wouldn't believe how small the band became! I used Amelia's head to stretch it a bit ... then a bigger bowl. She's such a good sport! (Thanks, Amelia!)

Meanwhile, Randy has noticed that nobody actually uses anything that I make. It is a little discouraging, I must say. So, he has promised if I knit him a pair of BRIGHT GREEN socks, he will wear them (at home).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

New Recipe that Worked!

Martha Stewart's Cookie of the Month for February
This morning I got up pretty early (as usual) and decided to try out the "Cookie of the Month" in the February issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Name of cookie is "Pecan Linzer Cookies with Cherry Filling."
I have to say, these came out just as I had hoped. I used cherry preserves instead of cherry jam and I didn't strain it. After all, the cherry pieces are just the things that make it cherry preserves! These are very crisp and nutty.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sugar Cookies! I Must Tell the Truth!

I'm not a great cook, but I love to bake cookies. For many years, while my children were small, I collected different cookie cutters and tried out lots of recipes. Our favorites were sugar cookies (made with powdered confectioner's sugar, not granulated), spicy Wishing Cookies and the old stand-bys oatmeal/Rice Krispie cookies, spritz butter cookies, molasses cookies and, of course, peanut-butter blossoms (you know, the ones with Hershey Kisses in the middle).
Well, this year, I had promised to bake four dozen for our church's annual "cookie walk" and another dozen to give to the museum where my son volunteers ... and another dozen to the animal clinic where our beardie goes all too often ... and another dozen to a friend who had been particularly helpful ... so, I ended up with lots of promises and not lots of time.
SO, I spent an entire afternoon/evening baking the four dozen for church. I tried some new recipes and a few completely FLOPPED, but that story is better saved for another post! Anyhow, time was slipping away and I knew I just couldn't make all that dough. While I was in the grocery store, I spied the Pillsbury Sugar Cookie roll in the refrigerator section. YES! This was my answer! I rolled out the dough in flour and powdered sugar, cut out the cutest shapes, sprinkled them with sugar and baked them. They came out thin, crispy and quite delicious, I might add! I packaged them up in small, cellophane bags and handed them out.
When my son brought them into the museum, everyone loved them! One woman went wild over them and wanted the recipe! My son and I laughed at that! Imagine! Wanting the recipe! If she only she knew!
A couple of weeks after Christmas, when our beardie went back to the vet, one of the technicians stopped me and said, "Your cookies were fabulous! Absolutely fabulous! Now, I make a pretty good sugar cookie," she went on. "But yours ... well, yours are perfect! They are the perfect sugar cookie! I must have your recipe. Really, you have to give it to me!" she exclaimed.
Innocently, I said, "Well, do you use powdered sugar in yours?"
"Yes," she said, "I do."
There were lots of people paying and checking out with their pets, so I hesitated until the room had cleared. Then, I leaned over the counter and whispered, "Do you really want the recipe? Do you want to know my secret?"
"Yes! Yes!" she insisted.
"Well," I swallowed hard, wondering how she'd take it when she learned the truth ... "they are just the Pillsbury Sugar Cookie roll. You know, the blue rolls you find in the refrigerator section."
"NO!" she gasped in amazement. "You mean to tell me that I've been working hard all these years to find the perfect sugar cookie ... chilling the dough for hours ... and all the time ..."
"Yes," I interrupted. "They're Poppin' Fresh!"
She squinted her eyes conspiratorially. "You are good!" she whispered as she wrote the secret on a Post-It note and stuffed it into her pocket.
I have a sneaking suspicion her sugar cookies are going to be absolutely perfect next year!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Here we are ... 30 years later!

Couldn't believe it, but Valerie, Sister Ann Marie, Denise, Sister Mary, Kathy and I (I'm the one in the white sweater) were all able to meet in Raleigh over Christmas vacation! We were able to say, "hello" and "good-bye" as we bid farewell to Sister Mary, who will be heading to Kenya soon. It was amazing how we all just sat down and started to chat as if we had seen each other yesterday! I was trying to think of something special I could give everyone, so I decided to spin up many of the small lots of roving that I had and use it to knit and then felt (or full) small treasure bags. A lot of the roving I had used to experiment with dyeing. I used the "freshly spun" singles to knit. By the end, I was spinning really thick yarn because I knew it was just going into the washing machine! Actually, the two bags that came out the best were the ones that had the thinner singles. I loved the texture of the merino/mohair/corriedale one. That was my favorite. I had found a great note to include inside, along with an oddball collection of items (like a Bobby Pin for a bad hair day, etc.) I found the note on a crochet site for a free pattern for little bags. I think these felted ones made great little keepsakes.

New Year's Resolutions

One of my many New Year's resolutions is to write more frequently. I decided to try out keeping a blog ... hoping it will give me somewhere to collect photos of my little craft projects and to journal all the strange, kooky things that seem to happen in my everyday life. So, here goes ... this is my first "post." (gulp)