I am writing this the day between two storms, so it's looking pretty Christmasy outside too.
(Is this a good enough reason to use a clothes dryer?:)
So maybe I was a little hasty in the last post when I mentioned that nothing had been done in my blog absence.
I made a slip cover for a slipper chair that didn't match anything else in the living room. It's mate is in another room uncovered.
I participated in a pottery show with a guild I joined this year. After I delivered my pieces to be set up for the show I realised I hadn't photographed them. This is what was left, mostly small pieces, which I thought would be the ones to sell in this iffy economic climate. You never know. The large cupcake jar sold. The smaller one is shown here down at the end. Sorry for the bad flash shot of these.
I made some candied orange peel with some oranges no one wanted to eat. (They were bitter) Remember the last time I made candied orange peel?
These came in handy for baking later.
For my Mom, the most difficult person on my list to buy for, I made a down blanket.
She is always cold and when she visits she loves the lap blanket that we have from Eddie Bourgeois, I mean Eddie Bauer.
It is sleeping bag fabric on one side, fleece on the other and down filled. Last year they were sold out when I tried to buy her one so this year I bought some satin fabric and fleece and used part of an old duvet and made her one. I was saving the duvets to make pillows at some point but I'm glad I had them for this. The satin made it a little heavier and I'm sure the old duvet has more down in it than our blanket. It's a lap blanket to fall asleep under.
The "Magic Beans"
This is what the family calls the wheat/grain/ rice bags , named after the Magic Bag brand. We have a few and I made a few more as gifts. One goes to Littlest's riding instructor, along with the horse mug( shown above), to keep her neck warm when she spends hours teaching in a cold horse barn.
So yes, the theme is leaning heavily towards warmth here. It is -20'C outside and inside well, my fingers are cold on the keyboard. The computer is not in the warmest part of the house.
Randomly inserted cat photo. I just found this on the camera and had to include it. Diggery ran way up the apple tree with a recovering broken leg and nearly gave me heart failure.
Don't you just love his lion-like winter frill?
I had another visiter, a stray ginger tabby came by these last two weeks. He was very sweet, very young I think and he followed me into the woods to collect kindling like a puppy and wormed his way determinedly into the house a few times. But an un-neutered male cat and three males already in the household did not get along. In the end I took him to the animal shelter. I wasn't going to leave him outside with a raging storm looming and as the Husband stated, "We have to put a CAP on this cat collecting sometime." I felt bad about dropping him off to live in a cage so I hope he gets adopted soon.
So back to our regularly scheduled show and tell.
The theme for baking this holiday was spices.
It was not entirely successful, mind you. In addition to some of our old favourites ,(please click on the photo for the full picture. I love you Typepad for re-sizing these, really I do) I tried a Jamie Oliver gingerbread bar recipe that was nothing like I expected, and it looked nothing like the photograph. Sometime in the new year I will tinker with it until I get it the way I want it. For now it is a pan of glorified ginger shortbread with a dusty top.
I also made the aztec cookies found in the Toronto Star newspaper . They have an advent cookie calendar here until Christmas. Every day they are posting a new cookie recipe and I had high hopes for this one.: chocolatey biscuits spiced with cinnamon, ancho chili pepper and cayenne. They are nice, but not spicy. I expected a little more kick.
Here is a recipe that does give a nice kick and is tried and true.
AND I got to use some of the candied orange peel I made earlier. It's a good thing I hid it far back in the cupboard early on. You can use store-bought instead, of course.
Peppered Spelt Biscotti
3 1/4 C Spelt Flour
1 tsp baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsps Black pepper
2/3 C Butter
1 1/2 C Sugar
2 TBsps Candied Orange Peel
2 tsps Vanilla
2 1/4C Pecans
Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.
In a large bowl cream butter and sugar.
Mix in pepper, orange peel and vanilla.
Sift in the flour mixture and stir to incorporate.
Add the pecans.
Chill if the dough is too sticky to handle.
Divide dough into 4 logs on two parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake at 350'F for 20 - 30 minutes until firm to the the touch.
Slice when still warm and bake again 15 minutes.
I have a little confession to make. I rarely double bake my biscotti.
I don't enjoy a tooth-breakingly hard crunch when a medium crunch will do fine, thank you.
And so there you have it.
Now my fingers are truly numb and I'd better go warm them up around a mug of tea.
But trust me, you missed nothing. Nothing has been completed, much has not been started...
Oops, I did finish the birthday socks, two months late!
From the stash of Alice Starmore. They match his fingerless gloves. Here they are complete with slipper fluff, cat hair and more than a glimpse of white socks underneath. Just keeping it real.
I'mnot so much in the holiday mood. In fact, I think I am at the dangerous point of needing to get my *** into gear and stop pretending it isn't happening and get to the stores. With a list.
(Cross that off, I did that this morning. Don't you love useless rough drafts?)
I did have a list of little knitty things: a bainbridge scarf or two, some fingerless gloves, a pair of socks. But I have no motivation to start/finish any of these things because I will not be seeing the intended recipients after all. In fact no one in the extended family is available for Christmas eve/birthday or Christmas day celebrations, except my Mom. This is the first time ever this has happened, and just when we have this big long table for everyone to sit down together at. The one I waited for years for. So yes, maybe I'm a little humbug-inclined this year.
I have started Fetching for myself and I'm edging towards this hat, because I think it goes with the Bainbridge scarf, the one with the button, although I am awfully fond of the Inga hat. But I find that when I finally get to sit down at the end of the day and pick up my knitting, a cat will jump up and snuggle in, demand a belly rub and the needles are put down and the cat is so soft and warm and...yep, I start to (yawn) lose the will to pick up the needles again. The kids think this is sad and really, who can blame them?
I'll be back soon when I have actual finished things, other than but including Christmas cookies which are being eaten at an alarming rate. There is sewing as well.
This could mean recipes from the former and cursing with the latter.
But I know Dear Blog, not to make hasty promises, I'm just hinting at maybe the end of the week.
I'll leave you with a Diggery photo. As you can see, the boy needs to relax and become part of the family.