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Showing posts from December, 2010

last Eye Candy Friday of 2010...

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...I have been taking a short vacation from the blog, simply because I was vegging out and not doing much of anything. I did want to share pictures of special Christmas presents I received from my friend, Jane.

Here's the first gift... a cat puzzle box:


And when I opened it, I found a note and a piece of jade that she had found at Willow Creek (Highway 1, California coast) when she was a kid.


I lived on the coast during my high school years and always admired the jade that people found. I never managed to find any myself—having one of Jane's pieces makes it doubly special.

She also gave me a teleidoscope. I've always loved kaleidoscope-type things, so having one of my own is very cool.


My challenge to myself is to figure out how to get a decent picture of the teleidoscope image. Here is an early, very low-tech attempt:


Needless to say, I am thrilled with my two gifts. Thanks, Jane! (I hope you like yours!)

During this last week, I packaged and mailed 9 boxes of goodies to …

Merry Christmas!

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...and yes I did fall off the planet for a while! Work and baking escalated to the point where I no extra cycles to deal with blogging.

I baked the last cookies on Wednesday and started packaging everything. I finished the packaging at midnight last night. It's been a lot of long days and nights, but so worth it!

Here's a picture of some biscotti waiting for the chocolate to dry:


I made 439 biscotti this year, down about 80 from last year. There are 30 people on the goodie bag list, and they each get biscotti. Here are 12 of the biscotti packages ready to give away, each with a dozen inside:


And a close-up:


Biscotti types:
Chocolate-HazelnutEspresso-AlmondGrand Marnier-AlmondCoconut-AlmondPeppermint-AlmondPistachio-CranberryHalf are dipped in chocolate and the other half are plain.

I made 10 kinds of cookies this year, a yield of 635 cookies. These also go to the goodie recipients. Here's a look at 22 of the cookie containers just after sorting:


and a close-up:


Cookie type…

Eye Candy Friday, Christmas edition...

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...not much else is happening around home except a little decorating. I've been too tired after work to get any more baking done, so it will be another long weekend in the kitchen. Since there are no cookies or projects to show that you haven't already seen, here are some Christmas ornament pictures.

Christmas has always been Big Deal to me and, contrary to what you might think, I do enjoy decorating the house for Christmas. When I moved away for college in 1968, I knew I wanted to have a Christmas tree in my dorm room even though I'd have to take it down when we left on break. Since I didn't have any of my own ornaments yet, I bought the standard colored glass ball ornaments and a string of lights from the drug store. In one of the shops near San Jose State (read: head shop), I found 4 clay ornaments that I loved. They look Indian in origin and are decorated with beads and pieces of mirror. I've put them on every Christmas tree since.

Here's the round one:


and…

WIP-It Wednesday, Christmas style...

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...because I'm sure not working on anything crafty right now. Here's our partially-decorated tree:


Sorry, the picture is not better. I forgot to change the camera from Program to Auto. I have Program set up for close-up shots. Oops! The tree is about 9 feet tall and has an oddly angled trunk. But it's pretty full, so that's good.

I think I finally have all of the components for baking and packaging the goodies I'm making. I made a last run to Cost Plus yesterday to buy red and green cellophane. I've done very little online shopping because most everything will be handmade this year.

And, of course, because I'm taking vacation from the 22nd through the end of the year, work has escalated! Oh, yay...busy at work and busy at home! Needless to say, there are some days where I just want to play hooky from work and from home...LOL!

OK, that's a little better...

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...I have two days of baking under my belt. Finishing my Christmas baking doesn't seem quite as impossible a task as it did on Friday.

So what did I make?
Almond fruitcakesPumpkin breadGingerbread loaves(more on that in a minute)Spumoni cookiesChocolate-Coffee Ribbon cookiesMexican Wedding CookiesCherry Kisses cookiesChocolate CrinklesSpritz cookiesCoconut-Cranberry coookie12 cups of Grand Marnier pecansI have a double batch of sugar cookie dough chilling in the refrigerator. I need to bake these next.

About the gingerbread: While I liked the recipe I made last year, I'm still looking for the ultimate gingerbread recipe. I found two candidates online: one from Food Network and one from Better Homes and Gardens. The  Food Network recipe really appealed to me and I made that one first. I doubled the recipe when I saw that it only took 1 cup of flour...I should have tripled it. It did not make very much gingerbread, only 8 mini-loaves.That's not enough.

Then I tried the BH&am…

Eye can't-believe-that-I-haven't-baked-anything-yet-Candy Friday...

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...this is the latest start I have ever had in the last 24 years! Wow...it's a good thing I'm a lot more efficient now!

So today's Eye Candy is this morning's sky. You know, the sun has risen on yest another day of No Baking! LOL!


And we have a few flowers that think it's spring, like this one:


There's also a very confused rose bush that refused to have its picture taken this morning.

Up this weekend: Need I say it? Baking!! Up first are the fruitcakes and pumpkin breads. Per batch, they take the longest to bake. While they are baking, I can make some of the cookie dough that needs to be chilled.  Then I'll swing over to the drop cookies.  I'll probably devote an entire day to biscotti, whether that's this weekend or next is anybody's guess at this point.

Oh yeah, somewhere in there I need to decorate! Tonight we will get the tree into its final stand (short story: it doesn't fit well in the current stand and is wobbly). If all goes well, I …

WIP-it Wednesday...

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...still no baking done! Man, I'm going to be busy this weekend!

Here's a WIP you haven't seen in a while:


I'm still working on the gusset decreases for these Mochaberry Bramble socks. It seems like it's taking forever, but given how little time I've actually been able to devote to these socks, I'm not doing too badly. I worked on these at Craft Night last night. We met at the new Panera in Sunnyvale and I decided that knitting was the best project for the location. I managed to finish 4 rows, so there was some progress.

I think I've finally finished the first round of ingredient shopping. Maybe I'll be able to bake one of the breads tonight. That's assuming that the Christmas tree goes up without any problems! That's the primary goal for tonight, The poor thing has been sitting outside since Sunday!

One last thing for today. I received my final installment of the Rockin' Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Picture behind the spoiler:


T…

could I restart December now...

...because I am seriously behind in everything! 

Word of warning to those who receive my cookie packages: they might be late this year! It's the 6th and i have not started baking yet. Heck, I haven't even finished buying all my supplies yet. ACK! By now, I should have a freezer full of fruitcakes, pumpkin breads and gingerbread loaves!

Instead, I have a basketful of some baking supplies and a box of cookie containers. I also have Christmas tree that is sitting in a bucket of water in the side yard and a living room that is nowhere ready to have the tree in it.

In the continuing saga of "what now?" (you know, the one that included the flat tire...), our washer was in a head-on collision with the laundry cabinet that used be above it. "Used to" being the operative phrase. Last weekend, when I was helping the Daughter rearrange stuff, we discovered that the cabinet had fallen off the wall and onto the washer and dryer. It's a really heavy cabinet and it t…

Eye Candy + Finished Object Friday...

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...first up, a Sky Candy picture:


Aside from the cool clouds, this sunrise was interesting because there was very little color. Usually, I see some orange or red tints at the bottoms of the clouds.

As I mentioned in the last post, I did finish a yarn on the last day of November.


and the close-up:


Specs:
Started 11/13/10;
Finished 11/30/10;
Healdsburg Hyacinths Merinp-Tencel top from Royale Hare;
Spun and Navajo-plied on Lendrum DT wheel;
186.1 yards; 13 WPI

Meh... it's OK. I'm not really fond of the way the colors fell on this one. It looks a little too much like 4th of July to me. I was hoping that the teal would even out the colors, but no such luck. I have to say, though, that the fiber was a pleasure to spin. I'll buy this blend again from Royale Hare, but I'll be a little more careful with the color choice next time.

Up this weekend: The Husband's sister and her husband are visiting from New Orleans, and we're having a family party tomorrow. We only see …

November 2010 recap...

Finished:
11/13 Swamp Merino-Bamboo top (4oz) from Fiber Fiend
Spun and Navajo-plied on Lendrum DT Folding Wheel
171.2 yards, 12 WPI 11/30 Healdsburg Hyacinths yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]
Healdsburg Hyacinths Merino-Tencel top from Royale Hare;
186.1 yards, Navajo-ply; 13 WPIBooks:
Breaking the Rules, Barbara Taylor Bradford
Drink of Me, Jacquelyn Frank
Indulgence in Death, JD Robb
Knit the Season, Kate Jacobs
Skein of the Crime, Maggie Sefton
Started:
11/7 Swamp Merino-Bamboo top (4oz) from Fiber Fiend [Ravelry]171.2 yards, 12 WPI11/13 Healdsburg Hyacinths yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]11/20 Red Marine Silk Wrap (weaving) [Ravelry]
Worked on:
Mochaberry Brambles (knitting) [Ravelry]Turquoise Trail by Laura J Perin (needlepoint)
Works In Progress, did not work on:
Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)Hexagon socks (knitting) [Ravelry] Jungle Songs quilt, pieced backingNatural Dyes batts from Yarn Wench (spinning)  [Ravelry]Tealing Groovy quilt The Beets Go On (renamed,…

WIP-It Wednesday...

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...it's December and I am not ready for it! It's the first and I am already behind for the month!

I worked on the Mochaberry Bramble socks over the Thanksgiving holiday. Turquoise Trails also got a little action is November, too.


It's getting there, but probably won't get worked on again until the end of the month, at the soonest.

The November recap will get posted when I get a chance. I actually managed to finish a yarn yesterday, but too much else for the month.