[cooking] Mincemeat tarts and peanut brittle

Last night I made some mincemeat tarts (with the mincemeat I started weeks ago) for a work party today:

mincemeat tarts

They're good- I like them. But we'll see what kind of feedback I get today. They still have a bit of a game-y taste but I think it's from the suet I used (rather than the venison). I don't know what real mincemeat is meant to taste like.

I also made some quick microwave peanut brittle (to add to the variety of Christmas cookies/treats I'm giving out):

peanut brittle

I unfortunately lost one of my glass bowls in the first attempt (heard a sad, low pop come from the microwave and I immediately knew). Not sure what the problem was- it was the same bowl that I used last year with the same recipe- maybe there was a new scratch on the inside of the bowl, I'm not sure. Anyway, it was very sad.

Gotta carve out some crafting time. And last-minute gift shopping. And wrap everything. And finish up the Christmas cookies.


[misc] Penny Wednesday

Penny, helping me with my second pair of Camp Out Mitts:

Penny helps me start a new project.

My work holiday party is tomorrow afternoon and I'm going to bring doenjang jjigae (vegan) and mincemeat tarts (loaded with venison, definitely not vegan). Lots of cooking to do tonight. And I didn't make any holiday cookies last night, so I feel behind. Nothing's wrapped. But packages are on their way from Amazon. At least this week is going by fast- I am in dire need of a vacation.


[knitting] Camp Out Mitts

Whipped up a pair of quick fingerless mitts with less than one ball of Noro Kureyon:

Mismatch fingerless mitts. #campfiremitts #kureyon

I've had a couple old balls of Kureyon kicking around my stash for years. It was such a fast project that I'm making another pair in a different colorway...

I used a very, VERY short US 7 circular (less than 8 inches?) to do the main body and it's a little awkward holding it. I found that I can't really work continental style (picking with yarn in my left hand) and have to do English style (throwing yarn with my right hand). The actual needles are very short so it's difficult to get acclimated to where you can actually hold on to them. I think it might just take more practice.


[travel] Mobile, AL

Was away last week to Mobile, AL for work. Got to stay in a pretty posh hotel:

Christmas tree goals 🎄

Has some good food (this was at Loda Bier Garten):


I was able to get one soul-food fix at a place called Mama's. Sometimes the best food isn't the most photogenic, so no picture of my shrimp and grits and okra and collard greens but it was just what I was looking for in terms out Southern comfort food.

On my way out, I made a pit stop to a local yarn store called Mobile Yarn:

Visited a lovely yarn shop in Mobile before heading home. Got my souvenirs!

Great shop- I can't recommend it enough. The owner was so nice. The other ladies participating in a class were hilarious and friendly. Good yarn selection. Very nice samples and bits and bobs around the shop. I hope I get send to Mobile again- just so I can go back here.

Now it's time to catch-up on everything. Christmas is 7 days away? Maybe I should start thinking about, you know, getting ready for it? Siiiiiiiiigh.


[misc] Penny Friday

Penny, last night in my lap while I knit:

Lap cat wants me to stop knitting and get her supper already. 🍗

The cats get supper at 6:00 pm. At 6:01, Penny starts staring at me... which progresses into meowing and tapping me (my head, hair, shoulder) with her paw. So demanding.

Still chugging away on the little knit dress. Will be traveling next week and should have plenty of airport/airplane knitting time.


[cooking] Pozole

Last night's supper, pozole:

Pozole last night, with collard greens. 🍲

I already had some pork shoulder that I slow cooked a while ago and froze. I just defrosted some chunks and pulled apart with my fingers into a big pot. I added two cans of rinsed hominy. I had some dried New Mexico chilies soaking in boiled water. After 30 min, I pureed them with some onion and garlic- and added this paste to the pot. Cover everything with some chicken broth, add salt and a couple teaspoons of Mexican oregano and simmer. To make it a bit healthier and add some greens, I chopped some collard greens and stirred this in near the end and simmered a few more minutes. Pretty easy weeknight meal.

I spent some of the afternoon at the King Arthur Flour Baking School for a free Bake for Good class. This was a basic bread class- you don't take anything home (everything that the classes make gets donated to the Haven shelter/food shelf) but you learn best practices and get to ask questions. I think it's borderline cruel that they wheel out previous classes finished rolls from the oven, for you to see/smell while you're working but... you go home with the recipe and experience to make it yourself. The highlight for me was seeing the instructor roll a bit of dough into a perfect ball. It was like, 50% technique, 50% black magic. 

I've been putting off starting mincemeat so I figured I might as well do that last night as well (that was a mistake... a multi-hour mistake). Boiled up some venison shoulder in cider, sugar and spices. Gathered and prepped all my dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, golden raisins, apples). Minced the venison and suet by band (I'm going to ask Santa for a meat grinder this year). Put everything together, reduced, topped off with some Sortilege maple whiskey and into the fridge it all goes for weeks. If it comes out well, I might portion some into mason jars to give as gifts.

I had no time to knit last night... siiiiiiiiiigh.


[knitting] Knit Dress

Working on a dress for my niece:

Working on a little knit dress. I’m at the miles-of-stockinette stage. #knitting #littlesisterdress

Making progress on the stockinette body. The little pops of color in the yarn keep it at least a little interesting. I think I'll measure and do some math after and figure out what size to make using heavier yarn. 


[misc] Penny Monday

Penny in the bass case:

Penny in the bass case. 🐱 🎸

Weekends are now spent covered in cats- they are constantly looking for a warm lap to hang out on for hours. Santana's winter spot is under the covers on my side of the bed to curl up and nap in. I don't make the bed so I can never tell when she's in there and will inevitably (a) try to lay down on top of her (oops), or (b) plop a laundry basket down on top of her. I realize my mistake only when I hear a plaintive little mew and the covers start moving.

Started a little dress for my niece in fingering weight yarn. I'm doing the 2-year-old size but I feel like it's coming out so large, I might save it for Christmas next year. I also took out some black and yellow sport-weight-yarn. Once I finish this one, I'll try making a "bumble bee" dress in a smaller size.

Working on a (too large) toddler dress with thin yarn and US 3 needles after whipping out a bunch of hats and socks so quickly is a little humbling. (I'm so humble, I am the most humble-est, number one at the top of the humble list.) I do have some sweater patterns printed for DK and worsted weight- maybe I'll squeeze one of those in before the bumble bee dress.

Also rummaged around the stash and found two ancient skeins of Noro Kureyon- going to try to make a couple pairs of fingerless mitts.

I made Nantucket Cranberry Cake this weekend. It's legit awesome. I had a container of fresh cranberries that I didn't use for Thanksgiving (I like the kind from a can; someone else brought homemade cranberry sauce)- to what to do with fresh cranberries? More than a few people recommended this recipe to me and it's awesome. 


[knitting] Cotton-Ease Socks

I already have a couple Christmas presents done for a certain someone:

Cotton Ease Socks

Leftover Cotton Ease Socks

The yarn is Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. It has been discontinued for a little while and if you can't tell from the patchwork 2nd pair, I'm using up all my leftovers. I'm very tempted to cruise around Ravelry and see what users are selling from their stash... but I have a bag of misc worsted weight superwash wool, so it's not time to go hunting for yarn yet.

I love this yarn though- it really holds up to so much wearing and washing. And because the yarn is worsted weight, I was able to knit two pairs in a week. Now I can move on to other Christmas gifts... 


[misc] Penny Thursday

Penny, napping in a basket of wool and semi-finished handknits:


Stopped by my aunt and uncle's last night to help her block a shawl. I was able to score from fresh venison- I'm going to try to make some traditional mincemeat (with lean meat and suet) for pies around Christmas time.

I think I'll try this recipe for mincemeat filling but use the misc dried fruit I have. 


[crochet] Star Ornaments

Working on some quick crocheted ornaments to give as gifts:

Whipping up some star ornaments. ⭐️️Only two rounds to work, each one only takes a few minutes to make. ✨ #crochet #ravelry

The pattern is free on Rav: Star Christmas Ring Ornament by Doni Speigle. In the past, I've done the same designer's wreaths and snowflakes.

I can't even believe how easy these stars are- only two rounds to work over the ring. Gobbled up leftover yarn nicely. I'm going to have to dig around the stash for more DK-weight yarn to use. Hopefully I can find more yellow...


[misc] Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Last Saturday we went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Manchester, NH. This has become an annual tradition and it's always so good. The music, the lights, the storytelling- it's so awesome.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

So good. If they're going to be anywhere near you, you should try to see them. It will put you right into the Christmas spirit. The first half of the show is story-telling, with video and singers. The second half is more of a fun free-for-all with familiar Christmas and TSO songs. The musicians are always excellent and the light show is the best ever. And there's lots of pyro!


[misc] Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a hit. I cooked all day Wednesday to make what I could ahead of dinner Thursday. 

Apple pie:


Pumpkin pie:


Chocolate bundt:

Chocolate bundt. And desserts are done.

Pumpkin rolls:

Pumpkin rolls 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃:

Roasted and pureed butternut squash:


Here is the 20lb turkey the night before:

20 lb  See you in the morning.

I have no pictures from the actual day of Thanksgiving- too busy. Roasted the turkey, made 10 lbs of mashed potatoes, two kind of gravy, stuffing (in the bird and in casserole dishes), peas, roasted carrots, reheated the squash, whipped cream for dessert, shrimp cocktail for appetizer hour... Then it was time to eat!


It was a mish-mash of table linens and plates and a scramble to get enough chairs and silverware but it all worked out. And everyone was gone by about 5pm, which was perfect. I just collapsed on the couch and tried to stay awake for football. Friday was a clean up day and I still had Sat and Sun to relax. I'll be read to host Thanksgiving again in five or so years.


[knitting] Even more hats!

Finished five aran caps:

✅✅✅✅✅ #knitting #aranknitting #hatknitting

Patterns clockwise from lower left:

Spicule - Frazil
Spicule - Shuga
Spicule - Nilas (all three come as a set - by Hunter Hammersen)

Blue Star Beanie by Shana Schasteen (modified for worsted weight yarn)

Candide Aran Cap (Out of print- I have an old leaflet pattern. Have made this four times now.)

Ugh, if I never have to look at a twisted stitch again, it will be too soon. Will prob give them a nice, warm, soapy soak. Some I did as beanies, some I did with a fold-over brim. 

I think I'm done with hats for now. I did nine hats in three weeks. That's... that's enough. I've moved on to knit some plain vanilla worsted socks. The what-I-knit-when-I-don't-know-what-to-knit knit. 

I have some WIPs I can finish up. And I'd like to do some scrappy ornaments to give as gifts.

Will be going offline for a while- Thanksgiving prep, party and recovery. Hopefully I'll have all the dishes done by Saturday. 


[art] Fluid Painting

Was able to pour a few more fluid acrylic paintings last weekend.

First, I wanted a bright one with just white, red, yellow and blue:

🌈 #fluidart #fluidacrylic #fluidpainting

That is my largest one to-date. I did two cups of colors and poured them across the canvas, rather than doing an upside-down pour. I love the large cells and bright colors.

Next, I tried an ocean-meets-beach pour:

🌊 #fluidart #fluidacrylic #fluidpainting

I like it okay. Next time I might not add any of the oil to the browns- so it's not as dynamic as the blue/white. I swiped through the blue and used a straw to blow some of the white at the surf back onto the blue.

With the leftover colors, I just put them all into a cup and poured over a small canvas:

#fluidart #fluidacrylic #fluidpainting

These "leftover" pours never disappoint, it seems. Not matter the color combo- it always looks interesting.

Oh, and one more planet:

Fluid Acrylic painting

These round ones are poured onto a wooden disks that are only 1/4 in thick. They kind of warp a bit as they dry. I have them all stacked up with a weight on top, trying to flatten them out. I would like to make them into clocks- but I will have to research more on clock mechanisms and frames.

The craft room is all tidied up and the paints and paintings have been put away:

Craft room

Because we need the table for Thanksgiving dinner. Thank goodness I'm taking Wednesday off to prepare- 17 people are coming. OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOGOG. It'll be fine. I'll just start drinking at noon. 


[knitting] Hats and Hats and Hats

I am so obsessed with hats right now.

It's so flipping cold out. I'm just going to stay under blankets, netflix and knit. The hat pile grows. #netflixandknit #knitting #hatknitting

In two weeks, I've made 7 hats and just started the 8th.

The first was the purple one at the bottom right of the photo. Pattern is The Elm Road Hat at Ravelry but it's just a twisted rib beanie. The yarn is a lux 50% cashmere / 50% yak blend (Lhasa by Debbie Bliss) gifted to me by my sister. The hat is so warm and so soft- already claimed and being worn by Dollar. 

Next was the dark blue variegated one in the top center. Pattern is The Glen Abbey Hat. Nice, a little long to make it slouchy. Yarn is Mountain Goat by Mount Colors, 55% mohair / 45% wool. It's a little itchy at the forehead if I'm being honest. But this is a great pattern for breaking up variegated yarn.

Then the brown one. Pattern is Graham at Ravelry. Basic broken rib. I like that it's knit on the wrong side and then turned inside out for a nice, nubbley purl texture on the outside. Knit a little long for slouch. Yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca, 50% alpaca / 50% wool. 

The blue cabled pattern at the bottom center is Father Cables. Knit the smallest, fitted size and it's still quite large. The yarn is Aslan Trends Invernal, 50% angora, 25% nylon, 25% wool. So soft- I don't work with angora enough. The yarn is whatever while you're working with it but after going around and around and around and pushing stitches along, you can see the angora start to bloom and make a nice halo several rows down. I particularly like this hat.

The natural colored ones to the left in the photo are from a pattern called Spicule- which is actually three hat patterns (and three little matching hat ornaments- so cute!). I'm doing all three. My plan is to do five natural-colored aran(ish) hats and then give them to Dollar's bandmates. And then they can wear them out to winter gigs. The yarn is mystery undyed wool from the stash (ripped from a big, off-white cabled sweater that someone started, never finished, gave to me and I've reclaimed the wool).

I've started the fourth aran hat (from a pattern I've made three times). Now to scour Ravelry for the last pattern... Then I miiiiiiiiiight take a break from hats.


[knitting] Seascape Scarf

I've had this Seascape scarf finished for quite a while but only got around to blocking it this past weekend.

Seascape stole

I think the pattern as written only has you do six repeats for a wrap-around-the-shoulders type stole. I made it much longer (ten repeats) for a scarf length.

I used less than three skeins of Louet Kid Mohair (discontinued- bought at Webs years ago, I think). Overall the scarf is light and fluffy and sun-shiny. I just had to be very very very careful at the start to get the pattern right- because ripping back mohair is never easy or fun. Once I got the hang of things, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.

☀️ #knitting #seascapestole

Murderface helps me pin out the blocking wires. His nails come in handy.

Murderface helps me block a knit scarf. #knitting #seascapestole

The scarf is getting mailed off today- sending it to a friend for her to give to her mom for the holidays. I think she'll just have to look it over for cat fur before she wraps it. Because there's going to be cat fur.


[misc] Murderface Monday

It was so flipping cold this weekend. Temps in the 20s with wind chill in the teens. UGH. Murderface shows me how to cope...

Find a spot in the sun:


Lay down on a blanket:


Relax and wait for someone to rub your belly and scratch your cheeks:

Murderface has the right idea.

It was a pretty productive weekend- baking, painting, knitting... all my favorite stuff. After moving along at a galloping pace knitting hats, I've slowed to a grinding trot. The last pattern from a trio of hats has a larger cabled motif that is a little slow to work across.

[misc] Santana Monday

Santana is so needy for attention on the weekends:

So needy on the weekends. 🐯

Had a good weekend- made even better with a extra hour on Sunday (I always forget). Got a lot of knitting done. Working on an angora cabled hat now (while we watch Stranger Things Season 2)- and then will move on to a series of five natural-colored aran watch caps (all different patterns) for Dollar's band members. The band is called WOOL, so it seems fitting ;)


[art] Misc. Fluid Acrylic Pours

Still waiting for some of the paintings I poured last week to finish drying. Here are a few random ones:




I can hopefully spend some time this weekend cleaning and varnishing some.

Still knitting along on a new hat. I need to take some more pictures of things this afternoon...


[knitting] Fall Palette

After knitting on the sunshine yellow mohair scarf for so long, when it came time to pull yarn from the stash for quick hats, I went darker...

After sunshine yellow, this is my color palette 🎨. One hat down, three more to go. #knitting

Already one hat is done and I'm well into the second. Super simple hats to work on while watching Mindhunters on Netflix.


[cooking] Pumpkin rolls and cake

I tried some pumpkin-shaped pumpkin rolls this past weekend:

Pumpkin dinner rolls. 🎃 They are so. Freaking. Cute. 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

I used this recipe but cut it in half, to only have one sheet of rolls. Well, first I cut, cleaned and roasted the last of the pile of pie pumpkins. More puree, more seeds. I used a half cup of puree for these rolls. They were pretty easy to bring together and shape. You make 8 cuts around the outside and it doesn't have to be perfect- the 2nd rise puffs everything up and any uneven areas get filled in.

Here's what the rolls looks like after cutting, before the second rise:

Pumpkin rolls

They are so cute- and I think I'll do them for Thanksgiving this year. Going to try out bird-shaped rolls this weekend.

Next, I used more puree to make this pumpkin espresso bundt cake:

Pumpkin espresso bundt. #kingarthurflour #yearofthebundt #baking #pumpkinrecipes #pumpkincake

This was really good- lovely fall recipe to add to my ever expanding list of pumpkin recipes. And any excuse to use a bundt pan...