Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Rundown

Whew! I had a really nice Thanksgiving week, and I hope you did too. I am sorry if I came across as overly dramatic in my last post. It was a hard week, and this is new territory for me. But thanks so much for the kind words and all- I appreciate it. I know that we will be okay. Maybe this is even a blessing. It really did make this holiday different. I tried very hard to distract myself in the kitchen and around the house, but I thought a lot about how much there truly is to be thankful for in my life, and I feel really fortunate in spite of all the stress and uncertainty.

Moving right along. Here's our table.

Lilly doing what she does best, which is nose around for food. In the interest of fairness, I will say that the smell of turkey was making the human family sniff around the oven a lot too.
Lilly doing what she does second best, which is be incredibly goofy.
A wonderful new practice of mine: I have been buying myself a bunch of fresh flowers every other week. Mums keep forever, so by the time I am bringing new ones in, the old ones are only just starting to get sort of funky. It's amazing what they do for my mood.

Okay, so I thought that since my Thanksgiving was such an amazing success, I would share some recipes, while I still remember where they are. I will probably be making most of this stuff again next year, but maybe you might like to try it over the Winter Holidays, whatever those may be to you.

Turkey Brine

Oyster and Cornbread Dressing
Honey glazed Carrots
Green Bean Bundles (no recipe, just wrap a bundle of fresh beans in bacon, then secure with a toothpick. Pour Italian dressing over them, marinate, then bake at 350. YUM!
Sweet Potato Casserole this one is similar to the one we use. I cut the sugar way down though.
Mashed Potatoes-everyone does this their own way, so we will skip that
Caramel Pecan Pie- SWEET MOTHER OF GOD THIS WAS AMAZING. I followed the modifications posted in the very first review. So. So. Good.

So that was our holiday! The pace was very Festive-Lazy, which I think is my new favorite holiday vibe.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Which I strive to Remain Grateful.

Hello friends!

Luckily at this point you don't depend on regular posts from me. If you do, at this point you are probably rocking back and forth in a corner somewhere. Anyhow.

This week is shaping up to be a busy one. I have been planning out decorations, rabidly cleaning the house in anticipation of the arrival of The Mothers, and making list after list of what needs to happen in order to feed the masses on Thursday. And by masses, i mean all four of us.

I'm making all manner of goodies- turkey, oyster dressing, honey glazed carrots, green bean bundles, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (i look forward to these all year long), rolls, the ubiquitious cranberry sauce in a can, and caramel pecan pie and pumpkin cranberry bars. I am excited and can't wait to feed everyone.

It should also be noted that i am doing double duty at the gym to counteract what will be the most calories ever consumed at one sitting.

I have tried really really hard to keep my heart in the right place this year. We have donated food, I worked hard for a cause that matters so very much to me (more about that tomorrow) and I am looking forward to a long week filled with family and friends. I try to consciously be thankful for things that I take without question all year: my family and friends, their health, the adoration and company of my wonderful if perpetually irritating furry friends, the way the river looks when the water is perfectly still, and the fact that i still have a good job in an industry that is sucking it hard right now.

But I was laid off yesterday.

I have work through the end of the year. I may have health insurance for a few months as a bit of a parting gift. I have a roof over my head, and people that care about me and will help me if i need it. I am smart, resourceful, and i make a mean quiche. I know all this and I am sort of clinging to it right now. I will be okay. And for that I am thankful.

As such, it seems that true gratitude takes a lot of effort. But, if it is harder than cooking a turkey for the first time, then it's all downhill from here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Resurrected Green thumb

I swear, i live in a seasonal Twilight Zone or something. When the rest of the bloggy world is filled with pics of changing leaves and things dying off, there is new stuff popping up all around here. This is especially good since I am REALLY trying this time, once again, to not kill plants.

These I am super proud of. BF bought me the little growing kits in the $1 section of target. I have lavender, basil, parsley, some weird flowers, and ornamental peppers. And I started them from seed and they are actually growing!
This is a zombie fuschia plant. I thought I totally killed it when we went on vacation this summer. The thing was just a bunch of bare sticks by the time we came home. I then left it in it's haging position because I am trashy. One day it rained, and tiiiiiiny little leaves popped back up. Now it's almost full and lush and even has flower buds! I can't believe my good luck with Undead Plants.
Paperwhites! Grown from a bulb kit. They are really growing! I can't believe it. I have bought all manner of those grow kits before, and never once have I gotten them to grow. But these are in the sunroom, and they are happy as can be. I am just so proud of myself I could burst. Me, the Worst Gardener In The World, growing things. Wow.
And! Another zombie plant! I even tried to throw this one away before we moved. I don't get to have much in the way of interesting plants, since the last place was rather shady, and so is our new back yard. Anyway, i thought i threw this plant's carcass away but i guess i totally didn't. There was a dirt clump in the bottom of a pot. That pot sat in the garage for a while, when i noticed a tiny little sprout. I put it outside, and then one day it looked like this! Who knew- water and sunshine, that's all that plants need! I can tell you that come spring i will be taking this little nugget of wisdom all the way to the nursery.
Sorry for following a week of silence with such an inane post. But ya know, nature is just a marvelous thing. And when it foils my best attempts at destroying it, in November no less, well it's worth at least a little discussion.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Christmas Cowl the Third

On Schedule: You Betcha (oh Sarah Palin, why did you have to ruin those two little words for me?)
Level of Smugness:Extremely High

Okay, so here is yet another Gift Knit. Made by me. On time. With scraps leftover from a neckwarmer thing i made last year. I feel like I have Christmas in a choke hold this year. Things are getting crossed off The List (it's almost perverse, the amount of joy that gives me). I will beat you yet, Holidays!

So, if you care, the yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Emerald, and the pattern is Ribbed Mini Scarf and it is the quickest knit ever. And, the fact that it is made out of Malabrigo makes it a super wonderful gift in my opinion. You can't go wrong with Malabrigo, unless you are forsaking it for cashmere. Then you are excused.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Christmas Cowl the Second

On Schedule: Check
Continuation of Smugness: Check

I want to keep this for myself. For those that care, it's Malabrigo Worsted in Amoroso (salvaged from a terrible scarf I made once, and then frogged), it's the Candle Flame Cowl on Ravelry, and it's splendid. And soft. And squishy.

And I am giving it away, and I hate that.

Also, it now occurs to me that i am desperate to knit for myself. It's a good thing I love feeling all sanctimonious for knocking out holiday knitting around Halloween, or I would forsake it all in favor of knitting for My Favorite Recipient. Hint: It Ain't Charlie Cat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Make This Bread

Well, only make this bread if you really like Banana Bread. It so happens I love it, and have this recipe. I took about 5 recipes and cobbled them together to make this one. I am asserting that it is mine, however, I am open to the possibilities that there is another one out there just like it. If so, please don't sue me for CopyWrong. I just like to share.

Super Awesome Banana Bread

2C Enriched Flour
3/4 C sugar (I used white, but it was because I thought we didn't have brown. Use light brown.
2 eggs, beaten
1/2C Butter
3 of the biggest ripest bananas you can find
some Reese's PB chips (add according to how much you like peanut butter. I recommend a lot)

preheat oven to 375F
grease your loaf pan
cream butter and sugar
stir in eggs
mash bananas and fold in
fold in PB chips
dump in your loaf pan
bake for about an hour. after about 65 min, start poking with a toothpick. Mine took about 75 minutes or so.
allow to cool
stuff your face

I can report that this slice was only cut out so that I could show you the inside of the loaf as well. It is NOT because this is such a moist, delicious, and wonderful snack when it is still warm from the oven. Nope. Not at all.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Christmas Cowl the First.

Here is the first of many, many handknits to be cranked out before the holidays.

It's the Clemence Cowl, made with London Tweed that i scored at the awesome annual sale at my yarn store. I try not to buy yarn at retail prices if I can help it. It helps with the justification.

So, this will be for one of BF's three sisters. Not sure which- I am just knitting what I want, and letting him decide who might like it most. The really swell thing is that for most of my gift knits this year, I am knitting from yarn I already have. That just adds to the smug feeling I have regarding the holidays this year.

Now, here's a lingering little thing that I have in my head. First of all, there is that ongoing thing where I wonder if gifted knits that I have made will fall apart in the recipients hands, or perhaps combust, either spontaneously or as a result of the recipient hating it just. that. much. So, there's that. But then there's another thing. So this year, I have been indocrinated into the holiday plans with BF's family. It will be only our second time meeting (the perils of dating from over 700 miles away), and now I am racked with doubt here. Is a cowl enough? There is a part of me that says, yes- a useful handmade gift from someone is a nice gift. And then another part of me started wondering, and then got pissed: What is this "enough" crap that gift giving has turned into? there is no reason to try to buy your way into a family's good graces. But still, it feels like I somehow should. The one thing saving me from sliding into an abyss of gift giving madness is the fact that the only thing bigger than my desire to please these people is my lazy streak. I am just not interested in working that hard to find the Perfect Thing. Especially since I know deep down that the Perfect Thing is usually not a Thing.

Wow. This turned into a long rambly diatribe when what I meant to say was- here is a cowl I made. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Never Too Late For Dogs in Costume

Hello! Froghair, this is for you. And also for everyone else who likes to see dogs who feel fabulous when they are dressed up like other things.

Here Lilly waits for Trick or Treaters. She was so excited to see them, so convinced that the feeling was mutual, and so eager to show off that we did not tell her that in fact they were just there for the candy, and she was a bonus.

Here is Maya in her not-so-great-as-Lilly's costume. She is really not that thrilled with clothing, but she forgot she had this little shirt on once there was action around the house. I think those little sleeves are just so funny. I would also like to add that I did not buy this shirt for her. It was a BF Impulse Buy, and it was originally intended for the Bumble Bee to just wear around the house. But alas, it is too small for her, and she looks like a body builder in it. And, it stops just above all her many nipples, which is both hilarious and unbecoming.

Finally, this is the best forward facing picture I got all night. Lilly is harder to photograph than Sasquatch. She is constantly moving and this is about the best I could do. But at least it shows that she has antennae on her head and she does not mind that in the least. Truly- we took her to a Halloween party and she LOVED the attention that a costume got. We would take it off her when she got hot, and before too long if anyone even so much as touched it, she would run over, sit down very straight and tall, and wait patiently to be dressed before running off to show the ENTIRE party that she was a bee again. Ah Lilly- Attention Whore be thy name.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Knitting for Tiny People

I made this cute little set a while back. I have yet to mail it to the itty bitty recipient because...I suck. However, here it is.

So, here's the sweater, which is the Baby Yoda Sweater for those on Ravelry. I made it out of Lion Cotton (I would never give a new parent something not machine washable- NEVER). I will tell you a funny story about why it took me two tries to make this sweater. See, the first time, it came time to seam the peices together. That is when I learned that I hate nothing more than seaming. This is good info to have, as it caused me to basically burn my seater queue to the ground. I HATE SEAMING. So anyway, I started seaming the little sweater together, and sure enough- I was not paying attention and seamed it ALL THE WAY UP ON BOTH FLIPPING SIDES. I made a Baby Yoda Straight Jacket. Yep. Nothing says "Congrats on that little person you shot out of your no-no's!" like a Baby Straight Jacket. Unless if by "Congrats on the little person!" you mean "Quick! Restrain them AT ONCE!"

So then there's the little shoes. Aren't they adorable. They are so cute they make me want to throw up on myself. they were a pain in the ass to make, but they are just so damned adorable, I will probably make the,m again. They are the ubiquitious Saartje's Bootees, once again in Lion Cotton. The color is way more accurate in the top photo.

So minus the Straight Jacket incident, I am very happy with this knit. The second time I did it, I did it bottom up in the round, separated for the armholes, then did three needle bind off at the shoulders. Picked up stitches for the sleeves (a lesser evil than seaming, but an evil all the same) and knit the sleeves from the top down. I am not smart enough to think of this alone- I read the mods on someone's Rav project page. Just another reason why it's an amazing resource, that Ravelry.

If for some very odd reason, I ever report to you that I am With Child, remind me of the Baby Yoda Straight Jacket. I will make a few of them in several colors, and never have to worry about keeping breakable things out of reach. Hell, maybe I should patent them. They could be the next Snuggie.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Something New

In case there are not enough domestic pursuits at which I am fairly inept, I bring you:

this will become a quilt for our living room. Hopefully soon. Hopefully without tears. I am scared. Hold me.

I will say this. Although I am sort of scared to cut into all this pretty fabric, I have to say: getting under the house and fixing the duct work is now a success that all other efforts are measured against. Is that bad? I mean, anything I am sort of nervous about doing just doesn't feel that bad when I remember that I crawled through an OMG TINY space to get under my house, where there could have been spiders and boogie boogies, and I fixed (well, I was in more of what I call a supervisory role) the duct work.

So yeah. Quilt, you're going down. And you just might be taking some patchwork-y type pillows with you.