Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

 We  have our Jack-O-Lantern lit, our festive balcony lights on, Ghostbusters on the tube and our trick or treat notice hung on the door.  It is officially Halloween.  It is also 2238 at night and we've only had 4 kids stop by but we were happy to see each and every one of them.  I am just thrilled to be home after working 7 out of 9 evenings/nights.  We are having a quiet and relaxing evening together at home.

Since we had so few trick or treaters, it means we now have THIS to contend with.  It beckons me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Baby Soma Sweater

This is the sweater I knit for Britt's soon to be arriving baby girl.  The pattern is Sprinkle from the book Juju's Loops purchased at the yarn shop Loop in London this summer.  It is knit from variegated Koigu yarn and some kettle dyed Madelinetosh.  Britt said she wanted baby items that were peach vs. pink and this was the best I could find.  And of course when I was halfway through the sweater, it occurred to me that I could knit this out of Kroy sock yarn which would be machine washable.  Note to self for next Sprinkle sweater.  We saw this little thing hanging up in the store when we were in Loop and I just had to have the pattern.  I'm so glad I got the book because it is absolutely FULL of gorgeous patterns.  This chevron pattern was easily memorized and I worked on much of it when I was watching Dave bowl. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Various and Sundry

 My cousin Michael's wife Britt is having a baby next month and I won't be able to go to the baby shower.  In the meantime, I've been working on some little baby things to send to her.  I have had this pattern for some time but never attempted it.  We went to that charity garage sale last weekend and I picked up some awesome vintage trims and this one coordinated perfectly with some felt I already had.  Britt has said that for their new baby girl, she wanted peach colored things and not PINK.  I was glad to hear that because I've never cared for the color pink.  This is the smaller size from the pattern.

 Here is the rest of the trim I purchased.  I was kind of disappointed in the sale this year but it IS a different group of organizers than in the past.  I was very pleased with the items I did find.

 I also got an aebleskiver pan at the sale.  These are sometimes called a munk pan or munkejern.  My mother made these when I was a kid and we called them munk and Alitza's mom made these but she called them aebleskivers.  You brush the pan with melted butter and fill each dimple with 1 tablespoon of batter and turn them with a wooden skewer.  You can fill them with apples, applesauce, sliced apples, bacon or sausage, etc.  They are almost like pancake doughnut holes. 

I filled these with apple butter and snacked on them throughout the day.

I'd forgotten about this SD card and found a few pictures of the kransekake construction.  Here are the rings I shaped with the pans and baked on a silpat.

The rings are then stacked and cemented with royal icing.  Royal icing is powdered sugar and water but made stronger with egg white.  I used meringue powder in place of real egg white since little kids and older adults would be eating it.

Incidentally, the bowl pictured is one of my Pyrex rooster pattern bowls.  I didn't take a picture of them, but I got a set of 3 lipped rooster Pyrex bowls in the same color and pattern at the sale!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My family met us here in town to go to the Angel's Attic sale today.  I'd been knitting like crazy to get these pumpkin hats done to send home with my sister for her kids.  Now they can both be "punkins" which is what my mother used to call us when we were little.  I used Cascade 220 superwash yarn and this pattern.

I'd also finished 2 blankies to send with her.  I'd bought this John Deere fabric panel for my 2 1/2 year old nephew because he is crazy about tractors.  Lisa asked for a twin size blanket so I pieced it with fabric she'd gotten at the Rochester Mill End Textiles.  I had never made anything with a fabric panel before so I guess I learned the hard way that panels are seldom square.  I washed and dried the piece, pressed it and discovered it was almost a bias cut/shape.  To square it up, I had to shave a little of the border off on each side but I think it will be OK.  I can't wait to see him with it.  I picked up a farm implement book at Joann Fabrics for $1 to go with it.

Lisa's dear friend Hazel is a wonderful girl and I wasn't able to attend her wedding years ago and I never sent her a gift.  She couldn't make it to our wedding but she still sent us a gift card with her apologies.  I have been so pleased with the queen size blankets I've been making that I wanted to make one for her.  Lisa told me Hazel loves fleur de lis and helped me pick out fabric when we were at Mill End Textiles together.  I sent this blanket home with Lisa and just in time too because Hazel will be coming to stay with them in a week or two.
I have show you my new favorite sewing tool.  I don't use a pattern for my blankets but I do mark/chalk quilting lines the length of the blanket at 6 inch intervals.  If using a dark fabric, I'd use up entire chalk pencils marking them, and pictured on the left is the PILE of fabric markers I've recently exhausted.  The purple item on the right is my new Dritz chalk wheel and it is wonderful!  It effortlessly rolls and marks fine white lines on my fabric and lasts forever.  This wheel came as it is and also has 2 refill cartridges but I have yet to make a dent in the current cartridge.  I love how it is even shaped like tailor's chalk. 

All this cool weather crafting put me in the mood to put up my fall decorations!  It feels so cozy lighting candles in the evening and curling up with a blankie on the couch!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

We Did It!

 We survived our wedding almost 2 weeks ago and I have to say it went pretty well.  It is so true what they say that the day passes in a blur!  Unfortunately, these are the only pictures I have from the day so far because I'm waiting for photos.  My cousin Stephanie did our wedding photography and did a fabulous job!  My dear friend Brenda was my roving casual photographer and she also got some great shots.  I greatly appreciated both of their efforts!

 I made a kransekake for our cake table because it is a Norwegian tradition and I chose a lot of Norwegian details for the day.  This is the only photo I took of it and I used my cell phone.  I was so rushed that it didn't occur to me to take a picture of it.  I bought the almond paste at Ingebretsen's a few weeks before for $10/lbs and made a practice one earlier in the month.  I have non-stick pans that our relatives in Norway sent us years ago but they are at least 15 years old and the non-stick does eventually wear out.  I piped the dough using a cookie press and baked them...but then couldn't get them out of the pan!  I was practically in tears and unsure of what I was going to do.  For the real cake, I piped the dough into the pans, and then flipped the rings onto a silpat-lined cookie sheet.  I used the pans really only as a pattern and it worked just fine.  Whew!  Then you cement the rings together with icing and decorate it with flowers, flags (I used Norwegian, Czech and German flags for mine and his heritage), candies and crackers.  Traditionally you hide a bottle of wine under the rings of the cake but this cake was only 12 rings high.  The rings are separated and broken into pieces when served and eaten like a cookie.  It is soft and chewy like a macaroon.  This cake is also gluten free as it is made of almond paste, egg whites and sugar.  Maybe for Christmas I'll make another one and share a little more about it.

We served cupcakes for our cake because I didn't want anyone to be lumbered by having to slice and serve it.  I found this cupcake serving tier on Amazon and purchased it with a gift card I had from my insurance and got it for a $23.  I hot glued navy blue ribbon to the edges and we placed flowers all over it between the cakes for decoration.

Here is one of the other few pictures I have from the day.  This is my mother assembling the cupcake stand and filling it with our red velvet cupcakes.  You can kind of see how it is assembled.  The different tiers are simply stacked onto the stand.  I also baked a 6 inch red velvet 2 layer cake for the top tier that we sliced for our pictures.  Our cutting cake isn't shown in this picture, nor are the THOUSANDS of cream cheese mints that my mother, sister and nieces made for the event.  My niece Ava was in charge of stocking the mint plate and she did a great job keeping an eye on it!

This is how the stand disassembles and packs away!  I was very pleased with this item.  It holds 120 cakes and can be re-used.  I read that people use these at craft fairs to display items.  My hairdresser already offered to purchase it for her daughter's upcoming graduation.

These are the favors for each place setting.  My poor sister folded and assembled all these boxes and tied the ribbons.  These were Wilton favors purchased at Joann Fabrics with 40% off coupons from their flier.  We also used Wilton invitations purchased the same way.

The boxes were filled with butter cookies baked with my RyCraft cookie stamper.  I've had these forever and thought they'd keep with the wedding crown theme.  These stampers can be found in all manner of gift shops and kitchen shops.  My mother has made these as Christmas cookies as long as I can remember.  The cookies are made from margarine (butter spread out too much), sugar, flour, salt and flavoring.  They hold the design because they have no leavening agent.

Here are the cookies after they are baked and you can see they aren't as sharp as the stamped dough but I was prepared to live with it.  I baked some 360 of these and the kransekake the Wednesday night before the wedding. 

I thought the day went off without a hitch but I have to admit I'm glad it is all over!  It is true that weddings are one of the most stressful times of your life and I can attest to that!  Now I just feel like I have all kinds of free time, but I have to first tackle the Thank You notes!  My sister was the true hero of the day but my Mother, Dave's sister Theresa and my cousin Stephanie with all her wedding knowledge and experience were invaluable!  Thank you to everyone who helped!