Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Knitting for Christmas

Hello all, I was rather busy last week and just didn't get time to share an update with everyone.  I didn't have to cook the Turkey this year but my WIP Wednesday was spent on my biggest WIP of all.  Laundry.  I like clean clothes but I hate doing laundry.  You spend all day washing, drying folding and hanging and at the end of the day, the dirty clothes start to pile up again.

So my day off was spent running to and from the laundry room at my apartment and waiting on the cable guy.  I got a new set of boxes and it allows me to watch what I DVR'd in my bedroom which is a lovely thing!

Anyway, Thanksgiving was great.  I made more Cranberry Squares and a Pumpkin Bread Pudding with homemade caramel sauce.  Yummy.  I forgot to take pictures it was tasty.  Also I couldn't just follow the recipe and I doctored the recipe with Pecans and and Bourbon soaked Figs and Cranberries.

We went to my mom's best friend's house for dinner.  Becky and her sister Francy are my adopted aunts and are very special people in my life.  My mom and Becky met when they were five and have been friends ever since.  It was really nice to spend the holiday with them and I could really feel that my mom was with us that night.

The rest of the weekend was pretty mellow.  I didn't partake in Black Friday shopping because nothing was really worth the crowds and hassle this year so I stayed home.  I did intend to work on my research paper for my Grad school class but I didn't and procrastinated on that until Monday....the day it was due.  Oops ;).

In my procrastination I did get some knitting done so let's see what I got accomplished.

Hue Shift Afghan

Ooo Shiny Stripes!
From the last update, I got four more blocks done.  I have to say that each new block is my favorite, though I really like the peach squares so the next row should be fun.  The pink had a huge yarn barf in the skein and thanks to help from Samie yesterday we were able to de-tangle the skein.  I think it cause I travel with this project so much that pulling it in and out of my bag has something to do with all of the tangles.

Anyway, I love this blanket and it's so soft and drapey that I can't wait for it to be done to snuggle underneath it.

Justice League Filler Squares

I finished the orange one but haven't cast anything else on.  It looks really nice with the finished Justice League squares but I am happy to have my needles back to work on Batman!

Owl Fingerless Mittens


I cast on another project this week.  I needed to get a move on this as it's a gift and I have a deadline earlier than Christmas so they need to get done.  I am using a combination of the House Mittens with my Fingerless Modifications and the Owl Cable Knit Coffee Cozy.

I am holding off on finishing the thumb because I  want to match the light purple yarn so it doesn't look like it was added onto the stitches.   The owl is a little hard to see in the picture but it's so cute.  I hope the recipient likes them.

So that's it for me.  I wanted to knit more for Christmas but my ideas never formed on what to make people.  I guess I am a pretty selfish knitter that way.

For other WIPs check out Tami's Amis and Frontier Dreams   

<3 Heather

Monday, November 19, 2012

2012 Holiday Baking - Cranberry Squares

So here I am watching the CBS comedies and staring at a blank word document.

Yes, I am procrastinating.  I have a draft of my 20 page research paper due on next Monday and I haven't really started it.  I know it's a draft and the final isn't due until December but I want to get a  good start.

So instead of writing that I am writing up a recipe from the family vault.  Yes, procrastination is my friend :)

Like many families after generations, there are foods that just have to be at the holiday dinner.  For some it's pie, others a cookie recipe.  At Thanksgiving, we have to have cranberry squares.

These squares are tart and sweet with a hearty oatmeal crust.  I never know if it's a cookie or a side but its always there and everyone loves them.

Cranberry Squares
In fact, a few years ago, my mom accused me and my dad of sneaking a piece even though we hadn't.  I went up to ask if I could have a slice before I went back to my apartment and she turns to me and exclaims, "You and your dad already had a piece didn't you!  You're thick as thieves!"  Now I know that may sound accusatory but as soon as I started laughing she did too.

We went downstairs and told dad and really it was the family joke.  I think my dad swiped a chunk the last time she made them and so I was lumped into the blame.

The recipe card

The topping
The crust

Grandma Lily's Cranberry Squares:

2 Cups of Cranberries
1 Cup of Hot Water
1 Cup of Sugar
1/2 cup of chopped nuts

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup rolled oats

Cook the cranberries, water, sugar and nuts until all of the sugar has dissolved.

Cream the shortening and brown sugar.  Add baking soda, flour and oats.  Pat into a 9x13 inch pan.  Pour cooled cranberry mixture over the crust.

Bake at 375ยบ for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Pops of Color

Hello all, I trust that you have had a great week!  

Sunday was the 1 year anniversary of losing my mom.  The day definitely had a pall of melancholy over it but it wasn't as bad as I anticipated.  I had planned to make a pie as Pumpkin from PumpkinSpins suggested but I took a nap after church instead.  As I have mentioned in past posts, the act of making those pies just relaxes me and reminds me of all of the amazing women in my family that I have lost, plus they are pretty tasty.  So when Pumpkin made the suggestion earlier in the month I knew it was the right way to remember my mom, alas time got away from me.  

Serious baking this year!  Peach Raspberry, Cherry and Apple

So this coming weekend, aside from Light Up Night and volunteering at Pittsburgh Indie Knit and Spin, the holiday baking will get started.  My friends are having a Friendsgiving to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with their friends.  I am really excited because I can't remember the last time I was at a big gathering for the holidays.  Anyway, I want to take a dessert so I will probably make cranberry squares (family recipe I will share next week) I need to make something else as well.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know :).

Alrighty, now to my yarn progress.  Again I am entranced by the colors floating through the Hue Shift Afghan and that is what got worked on the most.

I am in love with the pink pop of color with the red!
So I am behind as today is the 14th and I only have 8 blocks done but whatever, knitting is supposed to be fun not a chore right.  

I think after I finish this row I am going to block it with Toothpicks for a challenge in Nerd Wars.  Then the pressure is off to get all 25 squares done and I can get some other things done as well.

Overall, I love this project.  I love watching the colors blend and meld into a great pattern and can't wait to finish this block.

Other Projects:

I did get a couple rows done on the Orange Justice League Filler Squares but it's nothing to really photograph. I am also working on a gift for my Secret Santa swap partner from Nerd Wars. I hope she likes it! At lunch I am going to get some more supplies and try and find awesome other things to stuff the box with.

So that's my progress this week, how about you?

For other WIPs check out Tami's Amis and Frontier Dreams   

<3 Heather

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Shifting Hues

Hello all, I had a great weekend.  Friday was low key but lovely as my family and I attended an All Soul's Day Mass.  They rang a bell and lit a candle for my Mother.  As expected it was challenging but it wasn't as hard as I anticipated.  Following that we went to dinner for an early birthday celebration for my Dad.

Saturday, we went to the casino and while I did not win anything my Dad won $200.  Beginners Luck :)

I had plans to get my Sock the Vote Socks done but that didn't happen, given all of those plans.

In other news, I am happy to be on the other side of elections now and no longer have to watch all of the political attack ads on TV.  While I am truly humbled by our right to vote and decide on the leaders of our country, states, and communities, those ads drive me bonkers.

Speaking of bonkers, I realized I have far to many projects going on right now but here is my update.

Hue Shift Afghan

Lots of ends to weave in.  :(

I managed keep up with my one a day goal and have 5 blocks finished and the 6th started.  I am pleased with how soft and smooshy the Stylecraft is working up and it doesn't squeak on the needles like some other acrylic does.

I have had a series of oopsies that have delayed my one a day progress.  I had to rip out the yellow and purple square because I miscounted and I had to throw in a life line and rip out most of the bright pink and purple square because I put the decrease in the wrong spot.  Let's hope those boo boos are behind me.

One thing this is helping is that I have to pick of stitches or cast on so it's abating my startits.  I get the rush of beginning something with every new square.

Overall, I think this is moving along well.  However, in the Knit A Longs and the forums, there are rumblings that the 100 grams of Brava may not be enough yarn for the whole blanket.  With Christmas coming up, I will work until I run out and then order again.

I can't believe I am saying this but I am glad my purple row is done because I got annoyed with seeing those stripes.  I can't wait to start the blues and greens.

STV Spiffy Iffy Peresphone's Return! Socks, Ohh Shapely Boyfriend, and  Justice League Filler Squares are stalled this week what with the allure of the Hue Shift Afghan.  I do plug away at a few rows of the Sweet Azalea Shawl and the Diagonal Lace Socks but no new photos to share. I need to work on that.

So wish me luck and hope that I can get out from under my WIP overload, how are you all fairing?

For other WIPs check out Tami's Amis and Frontier Dreams   

<3 Heather

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012 - October Recap

Wow, another month flew.  I enjoyed this month for the most part.  My best friend provided the funniest weekend I have had in a while and I have finally gotten into a groove with my new projects at work.  While there was some drama in the family, it has at least resolved itself.

As I approach the anniversary of losing Mom, I am reflective.  I miss her so much but I have weathered this year and know I can handle things from here on out.  I am so proud of my dad.  I was worried about him but I think he is going to be alright too.

I had a bit of startitis this month and while I finished and posted about my biggest project to date, the others were not completed.

Well onto my mosaic. 

<3 Heather