Thursday, December 21, 2006

Contact sugar high

Come into my house and take a DEEP breath. Ah.....feel the sugar buzz! Baking cookies, candy, chocolates, wonderful aromas scent the air. All it needs is a good pot of coffee brewing and maybe the smell of bacon. Nah, bacon would be overkill LOL. Between working more hours than ever before (BUSY hours. Not sitting and watching status bar hours, but actually busy working, fingers-going-a-mile-a-minute, hard stuff working) and the usual hustle and bustle of Christmas, it is a miracle we got anything done. We have pictures! Chocolate truffles (dark and light). Peppermint patties and peanut brittle, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, ginger crinkles, shortbreads, oatmeal cookies and slice-and-bakes. Gumdrop fruitcake, Christmas bark, and fudge. I think that about covers it. There is a picture of a finished cookie box. Now, if I made up the boxes things would be staggered and mixed around, and there would be no white space showing. However, DH makes up the boxes and prefers straight lights, nice stacks, and lots of white space. We could fight over this. Sometimes though, 'ya just gotta let something go. So here is the shameless and unordered and slipshod montage of pictures. Don't forget to take your metformin before looking, 'cause those blood sugar levels are going to rise!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It is so ME.

I have always wanted an earflap hat. No, seriously. My tastes varied from the highest of heights (a pointed latvian ear flap hat with braids to weight down the flaps and a great big old tassel on the top) to the lowest of lows (an understated muted colour skull cap with a longer cuff that could be folded over the ears). I never did find one I liked, so started plans to knit one for myself. We all know how that goes. First ya gotta find the yarn. Then ya gotta buy the yarn. Then ya gotta find a pattern that will use the weight and yardage you have. Then ya gotta go out and find NEW yarn because the yarn you have is not right and you can't get more of it because it is made by pregnant women and small children in Nepal in small batches and what you have is all there is. Then you gotta find a new pattern because you found some stuff you HAD to have and it won't work right for the pattern, and so on and so forth. Don't say it hasn't happened to you. I don't care WHAT you do...cook, quilt, craft, work with paper or fiber, we have all done these things. To not only find yarn I liked and a pattern I wanted to try, and manage to complete it before Christmas is nothing short of a miracle. A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. There, I said it. No pointiness, because I wanted it to fit under the hood of my coat if necessary. Alas, no tassel for the same reason. Not into the long braids at the ends of the earflaps because...well....they bother me. Plus I don't want anybody mistaking me for a viking opera diva and expecting me to sing. *Yes, that was a weight joke, for those of you who are slow.* The colours are bright (did we expect anything different?) but oddly enough do NOT clash with my "clown coat of many colours". It fits close to my head but does not squeeze, pull, or give me a headache and best of all, it is stretchy enough to wear over a ponytail without pressing it into my head and giving me a bruise. I give you...THE HAT. Now, this is the pattern I sort of kind of followed, but it is still the pattern because right in there it says to do what you want. This is my kind of pattern, my friends. The only thing I was unclear about was how they said to start the next earflap, but did not mention breaking the yarn. If I wanted two flaps separated, I would have to break the yarn. And in fact, I did. I used four DPN's, but next hat I make I will delve into the "two circulars" or one long circular world and see how it goes. When I finished making the hat I tried it on. Then I answered the phone and talked for a good five minutes. Then I woke the sleeping dog on my lap so I could put her down to go take the picture. She gave me a sleepy look, then JUMPED when she saw the hat. She is so funny. Very suspicious of anything new. She barked at me for a few minutes, and keeps looking at me with suspicion even thought I took the hat off a long time ago. What a nutball.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Are you NEW?

In past years DD's school has done a mitten tree around Christmas. Basically it is a christmas tree that is decorated with mitts and hats donated for needy children. Some adult size pairs find their way there as well. Parents send new pairs of mittens, gloves, hats to be placed in the tree (no scarves. The poor lowly scarf has gone the way of the peanut in schools these days. All but banned because apparently they are a strangulation hazard). Most years I have kept my eyes open on dollar store trips and grabbed pairs of those little stretchy mitts, or more recently polar fleece hats and gloves. This year I had some gloves and mittens that I crocheted and knit to try patterns, but had no recipients in mind, so decided to donate those. They came BACK. With a note. We are sorry, we only accept donations of NEW items. Huh? These are new. Double check to make sure DD didn't drop them in a puddle or something, and nope. So this morning I brought them in myself. And the head of the social committee curtly informed me those gloves could not possibly be new because they had no tags. Seeing as I had already explained that I made them myself, it took me a moment to process what she was saying to me. "Of course they have no tags. They did not come from a store. I made them with my own two hands, out of yarn". I might as well have told her I gave birth to them, and even at that she wanted nothing to do with my tagless mittens! What has the world come to when stretch gloves that cost a dollar (and last maybe a week under use) are given more value than something home-made and hand crafted? When bake sales are restricted to store bought cupcakes and boxed cookies? When kids aren't allowed to bring treats in to the classroom to share with their classmates for a holiday so as not to offend the others that do not celebrate that particular way? It is about more than mitten trees, my friends. I could have argued that my mittens and gloves had just as much place on that tree as anything else but frankly I was worried she would put them up just to make me go away, then take them off and jettison them afterwards. My mittens will eventually come to good use, they always do. As do the countless pairs of slippers that don't seem to fit anybody "today" and the lap blankets I make to see how the pattern looks made up but with no recipient in mind. These items have a way of finding their own home. And I guess that home isn't on the mitten tree!

Monday, December 18, 2006

My family tree is like a fruitcake.

Full of fruits and nuts ROFLMAO. Unlike these little fruitcakes, because although they are full of big hunks of toasted pecans, the nasty fruit bits have been replaced with GUM DROPS! I cannot tell you how good these taste. Real fruitcake never tastes like I imagine it would, with it's colourful green and red cherries, yellow glaceed pinapple, citron bits. Even when made with dried fruit (as opposed to the pretty but disgusting tasting candied 'peel') it just never measures up. Well, gum drop fruitcake is as pretty as can be and tastes like it looks! I was supposed to add a jube-jube leaf to top each one as well, but SOMEBODY (actually two somebodies) mistook them for snack food and ate them all. I should have known better than to put them in a bowl, I should have left them in the bag they came in, shoved in the back of the pantry cabinet. It would have been much safer. The recipe is listed under the recipe links somewhere here. It is a light fruitcake batter (no molasses) but has warm spices in it, and toasting the nuts really does make a difference. So far we have made chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and oatmeal cookies. The shortbread cookies are mixed but not baked yet. We still have ginger crinkles to go, and a fridge full of slice and bake refrigerator cookies (no, not store bought silly!). The fudge is done - this was some extra, the rest was poured into small pans and covered once they were cool. I have three batches of truffles, peppermints, and peanut brittle to go. Plus nothing is wrapped yet. In the balance of good and evil, however, all the christmas knitting is done. Even the hat! Never mind that I abandoned the pattern after like an inch of ribbing, and then flew by the seat of my pants from there LOL. The pattern itself is wonderful, but the yarn and needles I chose were not. My hands were killing me even though I was knitting flat, and it was taking too long - I shortened the hat by a full 5 centemeters as well (patience patience. Okay I have none). I will knit the pattern again some time, but with better fiber and slidier needles. My brother will still love this hat for sure. My mother's scarf is done. Was it worth all the swearing, the snagging, the blood and the sweat and the tears, the soul sucking-ness 0f the process? Absolutely. It is stunning. I all but ran out on the street to make strangers look at it. I forced the cat to look at it, although she didn't look impressed. What does she know, she sleeps on plastic bags and eats pony tail holders. I showed it to Ruby, and she was duly impressed. It is worth it to have a dog that hangs on your every word and looks into your eyes with love every time you speak. Well, except for when she is ignoring me. Or those times when I call her name and she looks around like she thinks God is talking to her. Other than that. I finished a gift for myself as well. It is the beaded, crocheted rope necklace. I started eons ago and never finished it because working with he beads is fiddly and tangly and I have little patience for fiddly and tangly. Done. I am blind, my hands are no longer working, and my face tics when you mention seed beads, but it is DONE. Not bad for a first try, if I don't say so myself. I think it needs a pendant, and have no ideas at the moment. I might take a look in the craft cupboard and see if I have a wooden bead I can crochet around or something. But frankly, while the process of bead crochet is fine there are two parts that almost kill me. First of all, stringing the beads. That takes forever. And second of all, having to push the beads down as you work. My string tangles, the beads stick, it is horrible horrible horrible. Several times DH asked why I was doing it since I obviously hated it. Don't worry, I gave him a good long glare. Men just don't GET it. Sheesh. Since the Christmas debaucle is winding up and work is absolutely, mind-numbingly busy I will be blogging when I can and as much as I can for the next few days. Please forgive if there are a few holes, but I am hanging by a thread as far as sleep and mood and such go, and if something has to give, it may just be this. Not because it is the least important, no far from that. But I've already given up sleeping, eating, and going to the bathroom. There isn't much else left to stop doing!