Thursday, June 26, 2014

Things forgotten

Today is Thursday, throw-back-thursday, and I've been sitting here thinking of the things that were totally blog-worthy that I never did blog about.

For instance, when I was making the 2 cakes for my church's homeschool graduation service in May, which included my youngest daughter, Micaela.  8 hours on my feet, then in the @#$%!#! trash they went, and off to Albertsons I went where I purchased ... for less than I had spent on the trashed cakes ... 3 lovely and delicious cakes that everyone just couldn't get enough of.  That was absolutely blog-worthy.  I may have come off a teensy bit pissed and whiny though, so maybe it's better that I didn't blog it.  Looking through my phone, I don't see that I took any pictures of my delicatessin disaster, either, which is probably also for the best.  I used to make wonderful cakes, even some very nice wedding cakes.

Which reminds me, my parents' 50th anniversary was back in March of this year.  I made those cakes, and they were amazing!  Tasted good, anyway.  And I did take pictures of that!

My niece, Jessica, got married several years back.  My mother was making her a quilt for her wedding.  Approximately 3 years later, and a whole lot of junk along the way, such as my dad's massive heart attack and susbequent 4-vessel bypass, my oldest daughter's (Dara) journey of pain and medical testing until she was diagnosed the week before her 19th birthday with severe fibromyalgia, then just a week later Mom having severe reactions with a routine gallbladder surgery leading the family to find out about the disease she had been diagnosed with 5 years before, 6 weeks later my 17 year-old daughter (Micaela) getting hit by an 18-wheeler and impossibly surviving ..... approximately 3 years after she got married Jessica's quilt was finished.  Or I should say, Mom was finished with her part.  Then I took it, and where Mom had done her hand-stitched applique around all 4 sides of the quilt, I did some top-stitch embroidery, outlining all that applique.  It was beautiful.  It was brutal.   The quilting had already been done, and the quilter had used some tight stitches of her own with some clear, plastic thread or something.  I don't know, Mom's the quilter in the family.  But when I got it, it was technically finished and ready to go.  It was rather difficult to pass the needle through,without poking it through the backside.  I bled.  I callused.  I cried.  And about 6 months later I finished.  And then I really cried (with thankfulness). 

My oldest daughter, Dara, has a lifelong friend who married young, has a little daughter, and they just bought their first house.  As soon as I saw on FaceBook that they were buying, I started crocheting her a lovely afghan throw.  Really it was just an excuse to try out Stylecraft DK, but it certainly turned out wonderful!  And really, aren't they all just excuses to play with yarn?  I actually haven't delivered it  yet, but this weekend I'll be getting a gift bag and some tissue paper and delivering it to her, I think it's time now.  They'll be moving in within the next couple of weeks I think.

In the quest to clean out some stash, I made myself an afghan throw.  I luuuurrrrrrve it!!!!!  This is me!  I should have made it twice as big as I did.  I still could I suppose, but now I'm on to other things.  Still, sometimes I'm a bit tempted to pick the dog hair out of it, wrap it up nice and tight, then go back to it and make it bigger later.  It would probably look better in here if it were actually cool outside, not Louisiana summertime.

Oh, I musn't forget my basket!  I love my basket!  I am using it to hold the yarn for my next big project, a cabled afghan for my nephew, who is getting married this September. and I have found an excuse to make more of these, and even bought more yarn to accomplish that .. a girl in our church is preggers and NEEDS a cute little crocheted basket to carry little things like burp cloths, baby powder, wipees, etc. in.  In fact, her mom and mother-in-law surely need a matching basket to keep at their homes for the same thing.  Anyway, here's the one I made myself, I haven't started the pink/gray/white ones yet.

And that's my "throw back Thursday".  Throwing up a bunch of stuff I could have blogged about before, but instead procrastinated and tried to put it all in one blog as though anyone will ever get to the bottom of this one.

If you actually reached the bottom of this post, you MUST post a comment and say HI.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Patchwork afghan

I've loved the look of patchwork afghans I've seen and pinned on Pinterest.  I have way too much yarn in my closet and plastic bins, and in the quest for getting my room clean again (won't Hubs be happy!), I'm using my yarn up.  Stash. Buster.

I pulled out some “earthtone” colors from my Vanna’s stash, using the following colors (5 rows):
  • Chocolate brown
  • Grey Heather
  • Wheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Dusty Rose
  • Dusty Green
  • Dusty Purple
  • Dusty Blue
  • Mustard
  • Cranberry
  • Honey
  • Toffee
And the (6th row) /join/border was done in Espresso.
My living room, kitchen, and dining room are all one open room. The colors in this afghan pull all three rooms together, rugs in the living room, bricks of the fireplace, tile floor, dark brown leather furniture, curtain in the dining room, chandelier in the dining room, even the barley matches the granite counter tops of the kitchen and the grey heather matches the stainless steel appliances. My family is not necessarily impressed with what I do, except this simple afghan. This they love, and this I will keep for us.
Join: Top slip stitch. You can’t really see it well in the pictures because it’s so dark and I’m using an iphone camera, but IRL it adds a bit of a braid look to it. For some reason the joins ridged up a little bit. I don’t know why, I’ve used the same join before and it lay flat, but on this it does. If I were re-doing it, I’d do sc join (sc in stitch 1 of block 1, sc in stitch 1 of block 2, and so on), or something like that.
NOTE: I have 30 of these 7” squares. It took 2 full skeins of Espresso to stitch the 6th row for 28 squares, so I am in a 3rd skein to finish just the 6th row on the last 2 blocks.
BORDER: Border #46 from Edie Eckman’s Around the Corner Crochet Borders, using Beige and Espresso.
CONCLUSION: Now that it’s washed and dried and I’m using it … it’s not big enough. o_o Every square should have been 1-2 rows bigger, or I should have done about 56 squares instead of 30. Now that would have been a snuggler, and would have really cleaned out that stash bucket!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fathers Day and apple pie

For Fathers' Day, my little family went over to the in-laws, and my part was desserts.  My German Chocolate cake roll was a disaster, but it just so happened this was bake sale Sunday at Church (once a month for missions), so I picked up a nice chocolate cake.

I also made an apple pie.  From scratch.  Including the crust.  Woohoo Me!

Crust recipe.  Before trying the recipe, I read the reviews.  #1 comment was freeze the butter.  This crust turned out light, flaky, tender, and oh my goodness!  My husband's comment was "I love this pie, but I'd like a pie out of just the crust and juices".  I may have made a grave mistake, making this pie.  They'll probably want me to make pie all the time, and making anything from scratch is definite kitchen time.  A couple of hours at least.

Pie recipe:   This is to die for.  Wait, don't die, really.  Just eat it!  and savor, enjoy, oh my.   Again, I read the comments below the recipe, and made a couple of changes.  For instance, I added cinnamon and nutmeg to the caramel sauce.  Below are pictures that show the sauce simmering and thickening up, and how I cut the apples, and how I did the upper crust.  Inspiration for that design came straight from Pinterest, and everyone just "oohed" and "aahed" over it, as it was very obviously homemade, no storebought stuff here, and people tend to be impressed.  As they should be, this was a labor of love!

I actually made 2 pies.  One Saturday night to take out to MY dad's, and one Sunday for the in-laws.  The one I took to my dad's, I used 6 granny smith + 2 fuji apples.  The fuji apples are softer and sweeter, and as you know the granny smiths are crisp and tart.  The one I took to the in-laws, I used 8 granny smiths.  I was surprised at how different they tasted!   

The 6 GS + 2 Fuji = sweet, you tasted the apples, tasted the flavors.
The 8GS = You really noticed the tartness.  I hereby changed the name of this one to "Apple Tart".

So the design wasn't perfectly executed.  Somehow something got a little skewed and crooked, but I think that's part of the "scratch" charm, don't you?   Also note that during the baking process, the dough pulls in a bit, so some of what was hidden  under other strips becomes visible.  Again, all part of the charm, and I was not one bit self-conscious of this pie.  I was proud.  And if it hadn't been quite so tart, I think I wouldn't have had left-overs.  (P.S.   NEXT DAY:   Not quite as tart as it was when same-day fresh.  It tastes better, a little sweeter, a little less like McDonald's apple pie --- and makes a great second breakfast!)

Next pie:   Mix granny smiths with a couple of pears instead of other apples.  Just to see how the dynamics of that combination work.