Sunday, January 25, 2009

I made a pie!

Blogger decided to print these reverse order, so...

I MADE A PIE--completely from scratch, crust and filling! I've never made a pie crust from scratch, so I was really not sure what the heck I was doing, but the crust turned out really flaky and the whole pie is pretty darn tasty if I don't say so myself!

Pay no attention to the weird golden glow--I think our lights made the camera a little jaundiced. The first picture is closer to the real thing. Although the gold does make it look nice...Since I was attempting a lattice crust and the dough was not cooperating, I basically salvaged what I could by cutting the dough into squares and lining the sides, then used some of the strips that didn't fall apart on the top. The strips that fell apart were shredded into little pieces and put on the top of the pie. I kind of like the way it came out.
I can honestly say that I am going to make some more pies in the upcoming months so I can perfect the pie crust thing.
Last month I bought a bag of mixed blueberries. blackberries and raspberries that I had intended to use in smoothies. However the berries were so painfully tart that there was no way to use them without having to sugar down the smoothie, so the bag has been sitting in the freezer. I really hate the thought of not using these berries, so when I found a cookbook at the thrift store that was full of old style recipes from a restaurant in Ohio, I bought it with the hopes of using the pie crust recipe and the pie filling recipes. This book also has recipes for all kinds of stuff like homemade noodles, breads, etc. Lots of home cooking! I am REALLY glad I picked this up! The berry filling was great. There wasn't an overload of sugar in the recipe so my pie filling tastes sweet, but there is still a little tang from the tart berries.
I have to say, I'm pretty darn happy I was able to use up the berries and not waste them and the results were pretty great for my first pie!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Actual Knitting Content...

OK-- so this blog started out as a knitting blog--then morphed into an anything blog with very little knitting content. So today I decided to get back to the roots and show you my latest project. Notice I didn't say my ONLY project..That would infer that I have the ability to work on one project at a time and only move on to the next one when one is finished. Ummm, that's so never going to happen. I've made peace with that. I'm just not a monogamous knitter.

ANYWAY...the project above is a garter rib sock for my cute man that I pulled from "Sensational Socks". I've had this book for a long time and decided it is time that I actually knit something out of it. I like that you can take almost any needle and make a sock based on your gauge, not have to play around to get the gauge the pattern insists on. The markers are there to mark every 10 rows--a trick I learned from Cindy.

It is a totally customizable pattern book--it even lets you customize whether you are using 4 or 5 dpns, 2 circs etc. If you use magic loop, the patterns are easily adapted for that too. I am using Patons Kroy sock yarn and I really like the way it feels and the rich color that you get for the price. This will be perfect for my cute man. I do want to do a solid colored sock in this patten also. As much as I love the texture of the sock and the subtle way the colors play into the pattern, I want to do cute man a sock in some grey alpaca that I have in my stash with this same pattern so that the pattern actually is able to be the star of the show. I can tell more socks from this book are going to follow.

After I make a significant dent in my UFO's, which is a goal for the next 3 months, I want to start a vest from "Folk Vests". I've never done a vest before so I thought this would be a good book to start with since the patterns range from fairly easy to "WHOA! THAT'S ADVANCED!"There is a cabled vest inspired by Ireland in this book that is calling my name. I think Cindy and I are going to do a knit along on one of the vests from this book. Since I love cables and don't really seem to get the chance to do them all that often, the Ireland vest might be just the ticket.

I had the STRANGEST dream last night. If anyone out there interprets dreams, give this one a shot:

Apparently there was an air show scheduled to be in Wichita (there is one at McConnel Air force base every year, so that's not unusual) and there was a stealth jet practicing OVER OUR HOUSE. In the dream, I complained to my hubby about how low the plane was flying and he quoted the regs on how low they can fly and that they couldn't possibly be flying that low. I described what the pilot looked like and what he was wearing and that he was skimming just above our fence between our house and the neighbors (and it seems I was the only one in the neighborhood alarmed about this--again, this is a strange dream). About that time I hear a boom, look up in the sky at a ball of smoke and guess what? The plane slides nose first--gracefully might I add for such a honking huge piece of metal--right through our backyard, knocking down the fence. OK--so I'm not crazy about the current fence--that part might be a no brainer...And the kicker is that hubby is completely unfazed. OK, maybe this part doesn't surprise me--it takes a LOT to make my husband freak out--me, not much...I run upstairs to call 911-- and can't get through. Seems I kept dialing 119, not 911. Oh, and did I mention the guy pilot in the dream morphs into a girl pilot dressed in jeans and a t-shirt? I know the air force has casual day, but I'm quite sure jeans and a t-shirt are not part of the accepted dress code when flying a stealth.

Again--WTF? Other than the fact that the just fence is destroyed in the dream (YEAH), the fact is that this dream was just too weird on SOOOO many levels! Have you ever seen a stealth? When my oldest was young, we went to the OKC airshow and they had a stealth on display. IT will not fit neatly beside my house and the neighbors without ripping up both houses. Actually it would have completely taken out both houses to say the least!

I guess I could dissect the dream and try to figure it out, but maybe I should just mark it down to having a bowl of spicy chili before bed. I did wake up pissed off though, which is kind of humorous.

So I've shared knitting and strange dreams --- what more can I add.

How about a cute picture of an exceptionally spoiled blonde dachsund? That'd be our Sugar Baby, trying her hardest to relax amid all the chaos.

It's so hard to be a Princess..

Monday, January 12, 2009

Well, Isn't THAT Special!

I had been sitting at the computer several minutes thinking how blissful my life was, and then....

Out of the blue, one of the cats walked to the landing at the top of the stairs, looked at me, puked on the carpet, AND THEN WALKED AWAY.


Didn't even offer to clean up.

That's just typical life here at Casa Crazylife, home of the "binge and purge" feline sanctuary. I am detecting a serious respect issue with these little four legged creatures. I was going to title this post "How to Gain the Respect and Admiration of Your Cats", but apparently I have a little more work to do in that area.

Guess what I get to do now? I know, you're soooo jealous!

Isn't it great what some people share in their blogs?!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

More Iowa Pictures

The buildings in the downtown where my oldest lives are so flippin' cute! There are several stores in the downtown, but there are many empty store fronts. I can't even tell you how cute this place is. Several of the buildings have dates on them from the late 1800's, so this town has been around for a while.

My son did say a gallery and gelato place is moving in, so that will be a nice addition. This town would be just right for an artist colony, like Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Actually, downtown Newton Kansas has a lot of the old buildings like this and the downtown is full of really neat shops that people actually shop at. I hope this happens for his little town too.

There is so much charm and the residents are pretty friendly. It is definitely a gem waiting to be revived.

I love the bump out windows on the building above. It is right next to the old bank building in the picture below.

I want to buy this building.
Wouldn't it make a cute shop of some sort? According to the sale ad in the paper, the walls are marble and it has quite a bit of space inside. This town needs a yarn shop...I wonder if Shelly (Twist) or Julie (The Newton Beadery) want to open up a second shop? Really the 9 hour commute would not be THAT bad.....

Above is the one screen movie theatre in downtown. We didn't take in a movie while we were there, but I'll have to see what is playing next time I'm in town.

Another shot from the corner of my son's street. As you can see, he literally lives steps from downtown.
The town bakery is on this block. We went there each morning we were in town. Their glazed doughnuts put Krispy Kreme to shame. I have to admit, I had several different kinds of their doughnuts while I was there...and they were all delicious. I love places like this.
We also went into a gift/card shop "Daisy's On the Square" that was a great place to shop, and the town thrift store. I love independently owned stores. They just seem to have more heart and personality.
I have more pictures of the downtown to post since it does extend several blocks, but blogger might throw a tantrum if I put them all in at once.

On the way back to Iowa after Christmas, we did encounter some rain outside of Des Moines, which was really not that big of a deal--until the fog set in. This was no ordinary fog. I can honestly say I have never seen fog this dense! It was probably the scariest drive I have ever done. It was dark and I could only drive by following the white line in the road directly in front of the headlight. I could not see more than one car length. The really bad thing is that the semi trucks were barrelling down the highway and people were following behind them, using their lights as a guide. Pretty darn dangerous. That's a recipe for a hellacious pile up. We ended up navigating our way off the highway and found a Super 8 motel that was gracious enough to let us stay even though we had my son's cat with us. There was a hotel at the top of the interstate ramp, but you literally could not see through the fog to find their entrance. Super 8 had a well lit one, so that is where we went. I was in near tears by the time I walked in the lobby. It was that nerve wracking! By the next morning the fog had cleared and I was surprised at how much was in that area that we could not see the night before. The car was covered in ice, but after a little bit, we got it melted and went on our way. Luckily the road crews had been out early and the roads were clear. Let me tell you, I really don't want to repeat that experience again!!
I'm looking forward to going back and exploring the area around my son's town, but I'm thinking late Spring and Summer are good times to go. I did not realize he is as close to the Illinois border..We went to the Wal-Mart in Muscatine, Iowa--literally right on the Missisippi River. Apparently Muscatine used to lead the nation in pearl button production at the beginning of the century. Button production caesed in the late 1960's. I am going to have to explore the downtown when I go back. There is a yarn store in downtown that sounds awesome!! When I'm there again, it won't be snowing and icing, which is more friendly to exploring.
Plus I will have a GPS.
Anyone who has driven long distances with me knows that I need one...badly.