Monday, December 19, 2016

Kathy's Monday Q&A

Let's join in on Kathy's fun. It's full of holiday cheer and well, just Kathy cheer. :)

  • Have you ever been stuck in an airport?  For how long? Where?
    • I was stuck about 3 years ago in the Mexico City Airport for 5 hours longer than we expected. My son fell asleep leaning on us and drooled. I finished knitting a shawl and started a pair of socks. It could've been worse.
  • Have you eaten any holiday goodies yet?
    • Yes. Holiday parties have been filled with tasty things with friends. I'm trying to exercise regularly to break even ... trying ...
  • If you made pairs of socks with all the stash you have for socks, how many new pair would you create?
    • I have a HUGE sock yarn stash. I would say I have 25 - 30 pairs in the wings waiting to be knit. 
  • What is the best yarn store you have ever been to?
    • I love Imagiknit here in the city, Knitterly in Petaluma and when I went to NYC I found love at PurlSoho.
  • Have you seen anyone wear a Santa hat this Holiday season ? 
    • Yes. It was sparkling!
  • Have you played a fun game and you want to share it? 
    • One less heard of I think is called Forbidden Desert. It's a collaborative game. You try to rebuild your broken ship in leave the desert before you die in a sandstorm. Trust me, it's fun.
  • Peppermint or gingerbread? 
    • Gingerbread. I like it soft and chewy not so much on the snappy side.
  • Have you cancelled a subscription lately?  How did the company respond? 
    • I haven't recently. 
  • What should I bring to a 90 year olds birthday celebration? 
    (they said no gifts, but I just have to)
    • Chocolate, champagne and/or flowers.
  • Tell us a favorite Holiday gift you recall from your childhood please.
    • a fish aquarium. I know my parents saved a lot of money for me to get one when I was in first grade. It wasn't fancy, but we had guppies in class for science and I told my Dad how much I loved them. I couldn't believe it. Best present ever.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A piece of cake ...

Hello. My name is Ellen if you follow me on Instagram you'll probably notice I have been baking ... a lot. I baked 3 cakes in 2 days along with 2 dozen cookies for The Kid's guitar recital this weekend.

The past few months I have taken to late night baking. I think at some point I realized my sleep patterns were not ... improving and that I wasn't going to make them worse, but I was going to roll with it.

There are simply not enough hours in the day to do all my baking in the day time or day of. I often don't get to reclaim the kitchen until 8:30ish anyways -- and that is when the insanity magic happens.

First up The Almond Sheet cake from Food52 with it's lovely frosting. This frosting is for those that want all the fluffiness of a cream cheese frosting, but have a child that has great disdain for all things cream cheese.

It's not a fancy cake. Almond Sheet Cake with Ermine Frosting. But it's simplicity brings the joy. It's more of a vanilla with a hint of almond - cake when I make it, since I don't have almond extract at home, but a small vanilla extract making factory. (Have I ever shown you my jars? It's shelf real estate of vanilla beans and booze and masking tape. ha!)

Anyways check it out, I've had a lot of good feedback so far.

My other 2 cakes were The Clementine Cake as done by Smitten Kitchen derived from Nigella Lawson and then A Southern Style, Raspberry, Cinnamon Pecan buttermilk coffee cake.

'Tis the Clementine season. Dive in. My friend, HM said that Smitten Kitchen's post wasn't a ringing endorsement, but I HAD to try, simply because it's such a unique concept. And guess what? It's Gluten-Free. I don't have the prettiest picture of the insides because I inverted it on a beveled plate, and it sunk in the center a bit. But here's a close up of the crumb.

The coffee cake was good too. Not moon and stars good, but a solid cake. I think I'd put some chocolate chips or something too next time? But my husband thinks the Blueberry Crumb Cake is still the winner.

Whats your favorite cake to eat or make?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Kathy's Q&A

Kathy wants to have some fun and who are we to say no to Kathy?

*Can you knit something by *heart*I can memorize a pattern while I'm in it. I can kind of knit socks by heart, but I generally do a quick look up for turning a heel. I finally memorized how to kitchener stitch.
*Would you like some yarn for Chirstmas? A good girl would say no, I have plenty of yarn. but in my heart of secret hearts I always want sock yarn.
*Did you shovel any snow this December? HAHAHAHAHAHA! Kathy, I wore sandals in public on Saturday.
*Can you make a bow for a package or gift? I can make an ugly one. But a basic bow, not one of those 40 point star things. I struggle to get the ribbon to divide the package in quarters. I'm not sure how to describe that, traditional intersecting ribbon style. You know who is the BEST gift wrapper? My husband. Yeah. go figure. I shop so it's good this is his secret talent. I like a contributer.
*Do you buy used books or new? I like both. I was just in a used book store today at lunch. I can get lost in there.
*Have you seen a living Nativity? No I haven't. Maybe with the kids at midnight mass when I was a little kid. Which wasn't really at midnight by the way. But I remember I couldn't wait to eat tamales when we got back to my Great Aunt's. I remember telling her I preferred Christmas masses over Easter because the decorations and stories were better. I had issues with Easter. What? I was a precocious child! Wow way to take me down memory lane!
*Have you ever received home baked cookies in the mail? No. Always in person.
*When was the last time your toes froze and your nose was red? Every night when I climb into bed for the toes. My nose? Last soccer match of the season November 12th, big rain storm.
*Did you know that Christmas and Hanukkah are intertwined this year? I did. Only because my friends told me. 
*Do you love to get a Christmas card? Yes. I do. I'm horrible about sending them.
BONUS FUN FACT: I bought a wreath on Friday to hang on the front door before our family came by. The existing nail on our front door is too high and doesn't align. Then I was out of nails. Then the wreath was just hanging out on a kitchen chair, so I had to put it on the back staircase. So guess what? It's still there hanging out ...

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Tale of Red and Green

I promised that I would have some knitting photos and I do!

I really did finish those Summer Socks. (in November, ha!) for my friend's daughter. Such fun and happy colors. They reminded us of watermelon cocktails back then -- though this sweet young lady it probably too smart for underage cocktails. Her personality is something that would make you all grateful. Someone so kind and considerate, so polite and surprisingly, refreshingly socially and politically aware at the young age of 15. 

I don't expect all youth to be such go-getters (I had to tell her Mom and Dad, that this is not what they should expect of all children, lest they hold the rest of society to such standards). But it is pretty awesome knowing that our society will be comprised of people like Ms. J.

Hope people. Hope.

Here's the thing. I'm not sure if I'm giving her the socks. She has big feet. It's a bit of a tease her friends and family have for her, which is why I thought it would be fun to knit her socks. (Also I knit some for her Mom -- though I need to repair them, finally found the scrap yarn to do so!) But Ms. J's socks are ... uneven. 

For some reason, I was thinking I'd try a short cuff and got with 6? rows of ribbing on the first sock. By the time (it was a very long time) I got to Sock #2 I was back in vanilla sock auto-pilot mode and I went back to my usual *10 row cuff. I didn't notice this discrepancy until ... yep you guessed it. I had completed sock #2. sigh.

Attention to detail, perhaps not. I do like them. I didn't make the stripes match on both socks on purpose. I am not sure which sock knitter was doing this mismatch on purpose in the spring, but I loved the unique funky feel the patterned sock yarn was giving when you just ... knit and didn't try for the matchy match.

Anyhow, do you think she'll be offended? I hate wasting a pair of handknit socks. She could at least fart around them at home. The Kid and I thought it would be nice to maybe knit her a follow-up pair with one of her signature colors bright electric blue.

What do you think?

Meanwhile back in nervous-hands land I started my annual pair of Christmas socks. Another thing I picked up from the Knitters Blogosphere. I love it. It's yarn from The Cozy Knitter on Etsy. Happy stuff -- I'm buying Christmas yarn a year in advance, it's sad I know. There's other knitting stuff too, when time permits. But this at least is portable.

I just want to thank everyone for such kind words last post. I hope I support your spirits half as much as you support mine. I agree with you all. We move forward without our heads stuck in the sand. We do the work, and we appreciate the great and good that we have. And we yell at our kids to finish and take care of their school work. (wait, what? that wasn't in your comments? are you sure? shouldn't it be?)

*I think of the 10 row 1x1 rib cuff as the "Dear Sock Gods, please keep these socks up" cuff. LOL