Gloves!

For Christmas I made many pairs of gloves. Each person who received the fingerless gloves LOVED them. I’m finally uploading the pictures. These aren’t even half the pairs of gloves. In addition a few of the skeins of yarn had enough left over for ear covers!

The first pair was for my boyfriend’s Aunt’s 50th! I then followed up with three different colored ear covers as a Christmas gift, the first of which is below.

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A close up of the cover.

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The glove pattern is from ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fingerless-gloves-87

The cost of the gloves was about $4 for a skein of yarn, but I never used the full skein. Then about $2-3 for nice buttons. I wouldn’t use my plain buttons, because they just didn’t look good enough, I highly recommend going for the nice stuff.

Total time was about 45minutes per glove. I would consider myself an average skill level.

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We were watching our friend’s dog Walter over the holidays. It just so happens the red pair was for her, so I forced him to be my glove-picture background. The black pair was for my best friend, they look much more snazzy than the picture shows, the yarn is glittery!

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In addition I made a blue pair for another bestie, a matching green ear cover to go with the gloves to my boyfriend’s niece, a brown pair for my boyfriend’s mom and a few more ear covers to use up the rest of the yarn. This pattern was simple and effective, I give it an A+

My Christmas Wreath [In place of a tree]

I’ve been in small apartments for a long time. Even when I lived in a moderate house a tree seemed like a silly idea.  I’m still at the age where my Christmas Holidays are spent with parental units of one sort or another. Having my own tree is not only a fire hazard, bust a mess to clean up. Not to mention it gives Blue a target for his pee.

Start with clippings from my in-laws’ Christmas tree, clippers and thin wire.

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Assure that your pet is not going to steal the branches.

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Then it’s just a process of laying some branches in a general arch shape and binding them with wire. Every three branches or so I would bind.  It’s key to bind the “back” part of the wreath, i.e. the hidden parts that you won’t see from the front. Leave any small branches and anything that would stick out, free of wire. If you do need to use any of the small bits to bind, make sure that there are enough other branches to hide your wire.  I usually wait to use the smaller branches to give the wreath shape at the end of the process.  This year I added a few thicker branches that had no green in the back for extra support and shape.

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After the wreath was made and shaped I hung it on the wall where a picture frame had hung.  The weight of the wreath made it sag, so I added another nail at the base and let the wreath rest on that.  Many people will now trim the wreath to get a better circular shape, but I like the natural look of a wild wreath.

Next it was time for DECORATION!  I had two strings of crochet stars hanging around, plus all the crochet flowers I had made this past weekend.  I debated putting on my crochet skulls, but they weren’t the color scheme I was going for.

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Blue shown with presents and our Christmas Wreath. I usually wrap presents in brown paper with ribbons. However Kyle had a HUGE roll of wrapping paper from last year, so it would be silly not to use it.  You can see both styles of presents in the above picture.

Grandmother’s Xmas Gifts: Scarves

I finally decided what I wanted to get/make my grandmothers for Christmas, scarves to fit their style (hopefully) and life.  One grandmother lives in Myrtle Beach overlooking the ninth hole of a golf course.  I often notice her wearing white or light colors and of course the dashes of gold and silver. While visiting her over the Thanksgiving holiday my mother dragged us to the yarn store and I found all the yarn I needed. My original idea for her was a white cowl with gold trim.  However at Knit and Pearl in Myrtle Beach a new white with gold flecks spun into the yarn was the perfect choice.  I also bought two gold buttons.  This pattern was found on ravelry.com: http://www.fiberfluxblog.com/2014/04/free-crochet-patternvintage-corsage-cowl.html  I added an extra column by doing an additional 6 chain one in the first row and then an additional fan on each following row.

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The cowl is meant to be twisted behind the neck so that the roses and buttons are on opposite sides when finished and when worn both are turned front.

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My other grand mother lives in Southern Virginia and is a pastor at a small church. I wanted to make her something she could wear to stay warm while preaching and I hope I picked the right colors for style and decorum.  Again the yarn is from Knit and Pearl in Myrtle Beach, it is an EXTREMELY soft heavy weight yarn. The pattern is simple and is my own. Chain 31: chain 3 and turn row of 30 double crochets; chain 3 and turn for a row of 30 double crochets front post, back post alternating. To make the cross (counting the chain 3 as the first DC) it was 13 double crochets in white, 5 in brown and 13 in white, seven times, and two rows of 9-13-9, then 4 more rows of 13-5-13 (maintaining the rows alternating between normal, and front post/back post). For ease I had two balls of white yarn so that I didn’t have to cut or hide any yarn when changing colors.

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If I did this again, I would make the scarf skinnier and longer. As you can see the neck portion is skinnier than the ends. I would like to say I planned this, but I was getting concerned that the scarf wouldn’t be long enough and I couldn’t go back and buy more yarn, so I made the rows only 27 double crochets wide for the brown. After trying it on, I could see that it was preferable to have a skinnier neck area so that it will fit better and not bunch up.

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And finally with all the bits of yarn left I made some flowers.

Bottom left is done, ch12; 1DC, 1hDC, 1 SC in 3rd chain from hook; then in each remaining chain 1 SC, 1hDC, 1 DC, 1hDC, 1 SC. The flower will curl up on it’s own.

The two brown roses are done like in the pattern above.

The big white flower is done with ch3, 9 DC in first chain, join; chain 3, 2 DC in first DC, chain 3, join to base DC, stitch over into next base DC. repeat around and join.

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Pie Day!

No, its not March 14th.  Every fall, I have a pie day.  I wait until pumpkins, sweet potatoes and apples are in season and then make all my pies for the winter months. I usually do banana, pumpkin and zucchini bread too, but I did not have enough time.  I definitely learned a new lesson – do not do pie day after work, dedicate a whole day.

Step 1 – Cut the pumpkins in half and scrape out the insides.  Coat pan with oil, place pumpkins face down.   Bake pumpkins in 380 for like 40 minutes? I dunno, I just wait until I can smell them and then periodically check with a knife to see if I can easily poke through the shell.

The pumpkins take a good amount of time, so I started them before i even set the rest of the kitchen up. Another note – I buy the pumpkins about a week before I need them so that they can ripen a bit more and are easier to cut.  This time I also got Kyle to cut the pumpkins so that I didn’t have to face the struggle.  I probably need new knives.

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The supplies. What you don’t see in the picture is the wine (really important for the process) and the bowls/utensils.

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Step 2: The second longest process is the sweet potatoes. Peel, cut and then boil until soft.

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Step 3: The apples are easily the most awful part of the day unless you have a combo peel-core-cut machine. Kyle was done in the garage and was back to help me with the apples.

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We improvised by using an egg slicer for the apples. It was perfect! However it was also not designed for apples and broke after maybe 20 uses.

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Step 4: The zucchini was cut (NOT peeled) and then placed into a food processor. In the end we got too tired to attempt bread so the zucchini will be frozen until bread day.

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Shown below is the zucchini, two large zucchini makes 4 cups. The pumpkin after it was removed from the oven and scraped from the shell is in the food processor. Three pie pumpkins made about 8 cups.   Four large sweet potatoes made 6 cups.  The apples are still being cut; two bags of apples made about18 heaping cups. For the apples we went with the apple core and cut utensil then cut each slice twice long ways and once across to achieve the desired thin slices.  The process wasn’t too bad.

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Squash and apples are super safe for dogs. Just make sure to remove the seeds from the apple cores. Also, Blue LOVES zucchini ends so he stays by and cleans the floor as I go! I am a very messy cook.

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Step 5: Make the crust! My recipe is 2-2/3c of all purpose flour, mix in 1/2t of salt and  approx 1/3c of finely chopped nuts (I use a slap chop). Then cut in one stick (1/2c) of real unsalted butter. Mix in 1/3c of water as you stir and then get your hands in to mix up the rest of the flour.  It is not necessary to kneed the dough, but I do so to achieve consistency and because the spoon just doesn’t do it for me.

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Step 6 – Roll out the dough and place into pie tins. The mix above gives approx three and a third pies. Note: I do not use a matt to roll the dough. I just clean my counter REALLY well a few times before I start the dough process.

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I use walnuts for sweet potatoes and pumpkins, then pecans for apple pies.

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As I was doing the crust, Kyle made the batter and we baked! The pumpkin and sweet potato go in at about 375-400 for 45 minutes and the apple pies are at 425 for 25 minutes.  We used store bought spices for everything except the ginger which I used fresh and ground myself.

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Pies in the oven. It was always full! Note: the apple pies have a lattice crust and before going in the oven get three dollops of butter.

Blue is tired from the floor monitoring.  Kyle was also done with the process. I really shouldn’t have crammed what would be a days experience into an evening.  I wouldn’t have been so crabby at the end, I would have had time to make the bread and I would have been able to drink more wine!

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The pies are cooling! Note: each of the pies will be frozen. I wrap mine in saran wrap then put in a gallon ziplock. When you want to use one, let it defrost in a fridge or bake at 375 until ready. For the apple pies, brush milk over the crust before baking and maybe add another dollop of butter before baking/defrosting.

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Watching some futurama with the rest of my wine while the pies cool.

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Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for the bread day post.

Christmas at the Or Me

This is my Christmas set up. Since my roommate, boyfriend and I do not have Christmas in the apartment there is no need for a tree.  So, I ask a family member or friend to get me tree clippings from the Christmas tree place and then I made a wreath!   This allows me to keep the apartment festive and have the smell of fresh pine!   Of course I have to keep it up high because of the cats.  I use brown wire to attach all the branches together.  The stocking are from my mom. Usable, but since I taped them up, we aren’t using them.

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This is the wreath.  Pardon the green bay ornaments, it’s the boyfriend.

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These are the presents. I wrap with brown paper and ribbons. I usually buy reduced or whole sale ribbon throughout the fall as I see it to keep the ribbon cheap.  To get brown paper, I ask for paper at the grocery store instead of plastic, tear the bag apart, flip it inside out, then use it as wrapping paper.

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I also use newspaper for the bigger gifts. I think it looks classic! The box below the newspaper present is colored with trees. Not very original, but I honestly know my sister will not care and the brown box fits in with the theme.

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