Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WIP-it Wednesday, New Year style... I've been thinking about making a resolution or two for the new year. Mind you, I don't usually make resolutions, but sometimes they are useful. And I need to seriously do something about the state of my various craft stashes!

I spent a good deal of yesterday trying to get my spinning fiber stash under control. I'm vacuum sealing some of it to reduce the amount of space it takes and so that I can actually sit at my sewing machine! Well, that led to taking pictures of what was getting stored. It's then I realized just how much spinning fiber I have...believe me, it's a lot!

And then I looked at the fabric...and the yarn...let's not even think about the cross-stitch materials that are already stored away. I have some serious stash. I need to get this under some semblance of control!

So my WIP for today is New Year's Resolutions for my crafts.  Here we go...

In 2010, I resolve to:
  1. Avoid buying more fiber until I have spun at least 10 of the tops/roving that I already have.

    This means staying away from the Order button on The Yarn Wench site. Love her stuff, but I could open a shop of nothing but her fiber!

    Caveat: I am allowing an exception for Stitches West because that only happens once a year and there will be some Indie dyers there.
  2. Weave using my handspun fibers.

    I need to clear out the stash of handspun, which is increasing. Since I'm not a fast knitter, weaving is the way to go. Think table runners...

  3. Avoid buying any more fabric and make some quilts!

    I have plenty to make who-knows-how-many quilts in my stash. I could open another shop with Christmas fabric alone!

  4. Go through my WIPS, UFOs, and other things in progress and either finish them or declare them IDJ (It's dead, Jim). Some of them are years in progress and it's time to let go.
So, that's a good start on crafty resolutions. I could go on, but the fiber monster living in my craft room is calling to me!

Monday, December 28, 2009

and...I'm back...

...Christmas baking and activities kept me pretty busy.

Today, I packaged up the boxes of cookies and biscotti to mail and took them to the Post Office. There are a couple of gift bags to be delivered, but we're pretty much done.

Here's a sample of the biscotti portion of my gift bags:

Biscotti, ready to give

The cookie and biscotti baking really do a job on my hands. Couple that with the intense mousing I did to complete projects before vacation and my hands are pretty trashed. It's taken me a couple of days to get back to normal; I've caught up with some sleep and my hands aren't nearly as sore.  I even did some knitting.

I finally finished the little lamb I was making for a friend:

Fuzzy Lamb 2

Started 12/8/09
Finished 12/27/09
Pattern: Fuzzy Lamb by Fuzzy Mitten
Yarn: Lion Brand Nature's Choice Organic Cotton in Almond and Macadmia
Lion Brand Vanna's Choice Solids in Cranberry

I love making these's such fun to see their little personalities develop.

I have the rest of the week off, so I want to unearth my craft room so I can get to my sewing machine. I'd love to finish the "Paint It Red" quilt before I have to go back to work. I'd also like to start on the beadwork for the Queen Mermaid, and work on the Rusted Dahlia socks, and warp the loom, and...

We'll see what bubbles to the top!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

...everything is made and most of it is packed. The presents are wrapped and under the tree. My house is as clean and decorated as it's going to get.

I'm just relaxing a bit before I start working on the cioppino for dinner. I'm looking forward to watching some Christmas movies tonight while I wait for Santa!

Here's our tree this year:
Wishing you all the merriest of Christmases!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yeah, I'm still around...

...just running like crazy trying to get things done. Quick hits:
  • The cookies and biscotti are baked and packaged.
  • The Amaretto nuts and Grand Marnier nuts are made and packaged
  • The chocolate bark is made, but not packaged.
  • Christmas gifts have been purchased, but not wrapped.
  • The truffle ganache is made, but not rolled or packaged.
  • My house is half clean...the rest will happen in the morning.
  • The tree is up and decorated, but I still haven't finished the rest of the living room,
  • Still haven't done my cards or Christmas letter. I bought the stamps...does that count?
  • Need to shop for Christmas Eve dinner and the Christmas day lunch.
ACK! I have a lot to get done in the next 30 or so hours...I better get to it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sky Candy Friday, one week befroe Christmas...

...because I have nothing else at the moment!

December morning sky

I haven't had time to take any more cookie pictures, but I hope to catch up with those over the next few days.

I made two double batches of biscotti last night so I could include them in my office gift bags. I delivered 6 of those this morning. I still owe one person a dozen Chile-Chocolate Truffles, but I haven't had enough time to make them yet. They will be her "Happy New Year!" present.

This is my last day of work for the year (yay!) and I have a bunch of things to do. I have a project to finalize and send out.  Backups to make. Timecards...clean out my drawer in the fridge so nothing goes bad while I'm gone...things like that.

Up this weekend: biscotti, truffles, get somebody's box ready for shipping, decorate the tree, and keep my fingers crossed that e-Santa delivers on time. I only have a few packages to wrap, mostly for the Daughter. (The Husband and I decided we didn't need give each other much after the appliances and the car!)

I plan on posting to the blog up until Christmas, but we'll see how that goes!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Whoops! Wednesday flew right by...

....busy day over all! But the best part of it was the Daughter coming home for Christmas! I picked her up at the airport last night in my new car.

You heard that new car!  Here's what Santa brought me for Christmas:

A Honda Fit, Sport version (bow courtesy of Picnik)...I'm having such fun driving it!

So the only WIP I was going to show you yesterday was this:

Our Christmas tree is set up now, but needs some serious decoration. I did manage to get the lights on it last night, but no ornaments yet! I'm so behind on decorating!

Monday, December 14, 2009

it's looking like a bakery in here...

...the weekend tally is 705 cookies. Whew! Except for frosting the sugar cookies, I'm done with the "cookie" part of the baking. Next is the biscotti and while they are also cookies, they require double-baking, which puts them in a separate class as far as I'm concerned!

A view into Saturday morning's baking

The cookie exchange at Spin-In was fun! It's nice to be able to enjoy someone else's baking for a change. My contribution was Mexican Wedding cookies...a long time family favorite. While there, I made good progress on the Fuzzy Lamb I'm knitting for a friend. I have to finish the body, stitch it together, and embroider the face. Then I need to knit a little sweater for it.

We got our Christmas tree on Sunday morning. We went to Lowe's and Home Depot, but were not impressed with any of the trees there. Part of the problem is that they don't have them standing can't easily see what the tree looks like on all sides. Plus with the rain, the trees were all wet, so moving them around was a drippy proposition.

We ended up going to the Summer Winds nursery and got our tree there. They had some really nice Noble firs and although we normally get a Douglas fir, the Nobles were too nice to pass up. It's between 7 and 8 feet tall, a little on the short side for us, but it will do!

The Husband's car has been causing him grief for quite a while and it decided to cause BIG problems on Friday, The Husband took it to the shop and we find out today what the verdict is. We've been talking about buying a new car for a while, but haven't been ready to take on the expense yet. In preparation for his car being officially IDJ (It's dead, Jim™), we took a test drive in a Honda Fit yesterday. Really nice car!! A definite possibility!

Most of my weekend, as you can imagine, was spent in the kitchen. It took me a few batches to get into the swing of my new oven. My friend Jane encouraged me to try the convection setting on my oven, which I did and I was happy with the outcome. I have now discovered the "hot spot" in the oven and how to position the sheets to get the optimal result.

Spumoni Slices

What did I make? Here's the list:
  • Spumoni Slices
  • Chocolate-Espresso Slices
  • Cherry Kisses
  • Mexican Wedding Cookies
  • Mexican Chocolate Wedding Cookies
  • Coconut-Cranberry Chews
  • Almond Spritz
  • Chocolate Crinkles
  • Nutmeg Slices
  • Sugar cookie cutouts

Chocolate-Espresso Slices

All of them turned out great, except for the nutmeg cookies. These were supposed to be mini-Yule Log cookies, but the dough was too dry to roll into logs. I probably could have tried adding more butter, but by the time I was ready to bake these, it was late afternoon and they would have to chill again after the addition. At that point, my patience was thin, so I decided to just slice them into coins and bake them. Once they were done, I tasted them and was not impressed. There wasn't enough flavor and the cookie was dry. I won't make these again! Now I have to figure out it they are worth salvaging with frosting or chocolate, or if I should just call them a loss.

I plan on making a batch or two of biscotti during the week. However, most of the biscotti baking will happen over the weekend. I can easily make the chocolate bark during the week.

I feel like I'm more in control of the baking now. However, my house is still not decorated and the Daughter comes home soon! Guess I better spend some time on that!

Friday, December 11, 2009

I've been a little MIA lately...

...things are busy and way out of the norm. I can't believe it's the 11th and I have no cookies baked yet! SO behind!

Today's Eye Candy is brought to you by the rain:

After the rain

And while this isn't a great picture, this gives you an idea of what our LED icicle lights look like:

New icicle lights

These puppies are bright! (Still need to master those night shots...)

Work was a little intense this a result, I didn't have a lot of energy for baking this week. However, I make my Amaretto-Cinnamon Walnuts and Grand Marnier Pecans—about 12 cups of each. I also started a knitted gift for a friend's new grandson. It's another Fuzzy Mitten lamb [Ravelry]. Since this is for a boy, I'll make a sweater for it instead of a dress. I love knitting toys because they go so quickly!

Up this weekend: I have Spin-In on Saturday and we're doing a cookie exchange. So I'll have to bake cookies for that (go figure!). I may just make a batch of biscotti because they are easy to make and a double batch yields about 66 cookies. I need to take 42 to the exchange.

Hopefully, we'll get our tree on Sunday and get that set up. (or at least in the stand...whether it will actually get decorated over the weekend is another story!) And the rest of the weekend will be spent baking! I have to give my office mates their cookies on Friday the 18th because I'm on vacation after that! Nothing like pressure!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

still way busy...

...and cold! Ok, not as cold as people who live in snow areas, but it's darn cold for the Bay Area. 

This is not something I see very often around here:

Frosty plants...

Frosted over plants. Poor things!  And my car was wearing a new coat this morning:

Frosty car...

It was not fun scraping frost off of my car at 6:20AM just so I could drive to the gym. Way too cold to ride my bike!!

I haven't had a chance to do much baking the last couple of days...I pretty much crashed when I got home last night at 8pm.

More when I get a chance!

Monday, December 07, 2009

hold, please...

...a little busy at work today. I hope to do a post later in the day!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Eye Candy Friday, December style...

...yup, this month it's either cookies or sky pictures. The garden does not have a lot going on that is picture-worthy and craft projects are pretty much on hold (except for the gift ones, which I can't show yet!).

This was taken earlier in the week, when there was actual blue sky in the morning. The last few mornings have been foggy and overcast, so not much to see. There was some sort of aircraft leaving trails in the sky. If you look hard at the bottom right of the picture, you'll see a small, bright white plume that I think is the plane.

Plumes in the morning

I finished the first round of ingredient shopping last night. I now have everything I need to get started baking.

Up this weekend: Baking!  First, I'll do the  fruitcakes, pumpkin bread, and gingerbread loaves, which will all go in the freezer. Then. I'll make the cookie dough that must be chilled, followed by the drop cookies. In between, we'll go out and cut our Christmas tree (before the rain starts on Sunday!) and attend a Sunday brunch at the Husband's parents.

It will be a full, but fun weekend!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

November 2009 Recap...

...and another month with not a lot finished. Maybe January will be better for crafts, because I usually don't finish anything other than cookies in December.

  • 11/14/09 River Rocked Shawl [Ravelry]
  • Nothing
Worked on:
  • Rusty Dahlia socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • Simpatico Falkland yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • Paint It Red (quilting) 
  • Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch)
Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  2. Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile (spinning) [Ravelry]
  3. Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. February Lady Sweater (knitting) [Ravelry]
  5. Corrugator scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  6. Morning Surf Scarf (knitting) [Ravelry] 
  1. Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting)
  2. Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk 4 oz.roving in purple [Ravelry]
  3. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  4. Central Air socks (knitting)
  5. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  6. Dogosaurus Rex sweater (knitting) [Ravelry}
  7. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  9. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  10. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  11. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  12. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  13. Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  14. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)
  15. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

WIP-it-to-be Wednesday... promised the last 2009 installment from the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock club is behind the spoiler picture.

Let me just say that I love this yarn! I haven;t had a chance yet to read the pattern, but I generally love Cookie A's patterns. (Not so sure about the Christmas Sticking pattern...not my style.) I will definitely be knitting this project!

Now that it's December, crafts will be taking a back seat to baking, so be prepared for cookie pictures!

I've been in list-making mode...lists of cookies to make, ingredients to buy, gifts to give, and so on. (Being Virgo means I'm Queen of Lists! ) Now I just need to use a couple of those lists to buy cookie ingredients!

(Oh, and the November Recap will follow when I get a minute.)

Eye Candy Friday...

...and rolling into a long baking weekend. I'm completely loving the skies and clouds. 11/30/18: 12/5/18: Today was a co-w...