I absolutely needed a new obsession

My newest mild obsession. I say mild because I haven’t (yet) accumulated a large stash like I’ve done for other crafting endeavors. I opened up my old bin of scrapbook stuff to see what I could use.  I found a lot of old photographs that brought back a lot of memories, both good and bad. I labeled the ones that I could and purchased a few photo boxes to contain them.  

Planners. I’ve always loved planners and notebooks.  Many years ago, I had a Franklin type planner that I used for years and looked forward to buying new Flavia inserts every year. 

2017-01-18-12-47-40

These two adorable planners came home with me after I couldn’t decide which one I wanted the most. You color a lot of the planner pages yourself.

2017-01-22-20-12-06

Bin of old scrapbooking supplies. Those markers are about 20 years old. The couple that I tested were still good. I did go out and buy a few things, but hopefully I haven’t gone hog wild yet.

2017-01-28-12-18-27 2017-01-28-12-18-41

I purchased a paper trimmer, the one I had was too small to do the size of pages I needed for the planner. I also purchased the hole punch that makes the actual Happy Planner pages.

2017-01-26-22-03-16

2017-01-26-22-05-56

A little note book of sticky notes I found at Barnes & Noble. They make sticky notes that fit in the calendar squares of the planner!

2017-01-22-20-12-12

I got out the colored pencils I’ve been meaning to use on coloring books and my very extensive collection of colored pens and had a blast.

2017-01-26-22-03-33

I may have become a little obsessed after discovering washi tape. This neat little contraption is just basically the same thing that I used in my townhouse cupboards to hold the spices. I was going to grab one from the girls’ kitchen but this one was 60% off and inexpensive. Do y’all have any idea how many planner, sticker, washi tape videos there are on YouTube? I’ve gone down a rabbit hole and I’m not sure when I’ll be back.

2017-01-23-19-58-30

Stickers from long ago. I look forward to using them along with the new ones I may or may not have purchased.

 

 

What did they accomplish?

Last night, as I was thinking about the events of the week, I began to feel dismay.  I began to feel heartache. We had an inauguration and, of course, social media lit up with a megcrapton of negative messages. There was a women’s march that instead of inspiring me left me feeling disappointed. Women across the US created hats that when worn look like cat ears and all the hats were some shade of pink. At first I thought this was cute, pink for girls and what could be cuter than kittens?

Then, I learned that they were actually called something that is vulgar slang for a part of the female anatomy. I saw pictures of women wearing head gear that actually looked like that part of the female anatomy. Instead of being proud of my sisters around the world I was dismayed, disgusted, and disappointed. Why must our feminist efforts inevitably turn crass and vulgar? No wonder feminism gets a bad rap.

They spent their time protesting the results of an election. We have and have had plenty of vile and disgusting people in government positions. The only impression you made on these people was to reinforce their belief that you should be ignored.

Because the hats were handmade, many being knitted and crocheted, the fiber community, my fiber community, was aglow in what a wonderful the thing the crafting community did. But, what did they do? They made an impressive presence, sure. Who did they help? I venture to say, here in the privacy and safety of my own journal and unread by the world blog, that they helped no one. Could they not have made those hats, in a more tasteful pattern, and donated them to those who needed to be kept warm?

Did they help someone shovel their snow? Did they help someone with child care? Did they take a meal to a sick neighbor? Did they help someone search the rubble after a tornado for a loved one? Did they help someone being swept away by flood waters? Did they clothe someone who just lost all of their worldly possessions? Could they not have done those things instead? Could they not have donated the cost of their marching trip to a humanitarian project? I’m sure many of them, let’s say most of them, are generous and caring people. After all, they were were marching for women’s rights. Maybe they do these things on other days. But why not this day as well? Come on, ladies, your time could have been much better spent.  There are plenty of humanitarian projects that help women that could have used your time, energy, considerable talents, and money.

I made a donation to the church’s humanitarian fund then shut off the news and social media. I continued to ponder (I really don’t like that word, I don’t know why) contemplate how I would spend my energy. How should I respond to social media? How should I phrase all these things boiling around in my brain?

The answer came to me. I won’t. I will do my best to not respond or react. From now on, I do my best to post positive things I see. I will post stories about how people are helping others. I will post about any opportunities I find for us to help those in need. I will find someone, something to serve.

Goodbye, Uncle Gayle

Godspeed and rest in peace. I’ve always enjoyed visiting you, Aunt Sandy, Missy and Mark. It’s with much regret that in these later years I did not see you guys very often, only at funerals. It is with more regret that I will see them again at yours, but I still look forward to seeing them. I miss all the family out there in California. The Ft. Bragg area is one of my favorite places in California and will always hold a special place in my heart. The redwoods are gorgeous, the coast divine, and the seafood the best. I will miss your hilarious, infectious giggle. I love that you and Dad spent so many summer visits diving for abalone.

L-R Mom, Dad, Uncle Gayle, Aunt Sandy

My dear Uncle Gayle passed away a few days before Christmas. He was my mother’s remaining brother. As the youngest of six children, it’s been her lot to see all of her brothers and one of her sisters pass away before her. She has her oldest sibling, Aunt Maxine left who is very healthy but has Alzheimer’s or dementia and doesn’t remember her. Mom and Gayle were closest in age and were raised together. The older siblings were so much older that almost all of them were out of the house by the time she was born.

 

A quarter of a century with Chynna

From learning to skate in 2000

To dressing up for fancy occasions

img_0130

To jumping out of planes and not getting a single scratch

And falling off of bicycles with less luck

And taking time out for the birdies

2017-01-09-11-01-02

Chynna has always been an interesting part of my life.  Congratulations on 25 years of being amazeballs.  Happy Birthday and I love you, Sunshine!

In which I almost make yarn.

Plying was horrible. Then I got some advice and it wasn’t as horrible. Something clicked and it became a little more natural.

2016-10-21-19-37-38

Giving the yarn a bath released the KoolAid smells from when I dyed the fiber a few years ago.

2016-10-22-10-39-23

It almost looks like real yarn, doesn’t it?  I’m contemplating running it through the wheel again to see if I can tighten up the first bits.  That’s a doable thing isn’t it?

I can’t believe I didn’t finish this post back from October. I did indeed run the first skein back through the wheel and tightened things up and then did the rest of the singles into a second skein.

2016-10-31-08-18-35

I got out the niddy noddy and by Nov 1, I had real skeins of yarn.  I need to figure out what to make with them. The point of this exercise wasn’t to get a nice finished object, it was to learn how to dye and spin, so this is kinda weird looking, scratchy feeling yarn. I don’t think a scarf or gloves would be a good choice.  It’s 100% wool, so a hat made from it would be warm if not particularly good looking.

2016-11-01-12-17-55

I started plying new things right away but the wheel band broke so I had to wait for another to come in the mail. It was the wrong size so I tied the old and new bands together. I didn’t get around to trying the wheel and I had a lot of Christmas knitting to do. When I have some time I’ll try it out and also order the correct size wheel band.

2017-01-04-11-19-47

Almost A List For The New Year

Ah, New Year’s.  The time of year when I think about diets, exercise, knitting only from stash (which is just another name for yarn diet), making lists of things I want to get done, and writing in my journal. Maybe this will be the magical year when those things happen.

New Year’s Eve we had planned to watch the Star Wars movies and just graze on all the leftovers in the house. I’ve been sick since Christmas and didn’t have much energy or desire for anything big. A daughter brought some friends over and a little party happened instead. We had snacks and fizzy drinks and the young people were adorable. I didn’t make it to midnight and happily went to bed a little early.

We didn’t get around to watching the movies until New Years Day. We watched them all and didn’t get too much interference from the loud talkers in the house. It was a day of nostalgia.

I’ve done a tiny bit of knitting and haven’t started anything new. I keep going back and forth about wanting to start things. I would like to finish Chynna’s armwarmers in time for her birthday and then we’ll see where Startitis takes me.

I love the beginning of a year. It is so full of hope and time seems to move just a tiny bit slower. Because New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday, January 2 is the observed New Year’s Day and all is quiet here. I think most of the kids will be going back to school tomorrow, but our college students haven’t gone back yet.  We have a gentle snow falling and I’m sitting in front of a fire contemplating the lists I would like to make.

I want to get those cute planners that you can color and dress up with stickers and stamps, but I’m pretty sure that I would do little more than just stare at it adoringly and never use it. It makes me happy to see the return of paper planners. I gave up mine years ago and kinda miss it. 

One of the best things about the start of this year is this:

2017-01-02-22-18-33

This is our house last night. The house and yard are covered in snow. It’s what I love the most about Utah.

2017-01-03-07-44-22

This is the house across the street this morning. I love how the trees look when covered in snow. I wouldn’t relish the actual trip into the mountains, but I would love to already be there to see how everything looks.

2017-01-03-07-43-07 2017-01-03-07-43-22

It may be snowy outside, but inside I have a gorgeous orange tea kettle ready to provide me with tea and hot chocolate.

2017-01-03-09-39-45

The knitting I will have to provide for myself. After I get the small disaster area known as my craft room a little more organized.

It’s not just a fruit cake, it’s The Fruitcake

Or, The Great Fruit Cake Adventure of 2017

It started out so well.

2016-12-16-12-29-34

It ended so miserably.

2016-12-16-22-43-42

It rose too high on the sides (or sunk in the middle) causing burnt edges.  It mostly tasted okay so I think it’s just a cooking problem.

My father has been making this cake almost every year of my life. I’ve been wanting to make it on my own for several years and just never quite got around to doing it. This year was going to be the year. The year I made The Christmas Cake. The Christmas Cake recipe handed down to us by my Grandma Bunny. It was going to be wonderful. It was a train wreck. I’m a little devastated.

And for all of you out there that are thinking, “it’s just fruit cake, for Pete’s sake. no one like fruit cake”, you must understand. This is important. This is tradition. My grandmother, father, and mother made this cake for years. This is one of the few traditions in my life. I’m genetically pre-disposed to make this cake. While it’s true that fruit cake seems to be a universal cosmic joke, I like it. I’m practically the only person I know that likes it. I should be able to do this and by all the holy, I shall!

I followed the recipe my dad sent me, I thought, so faithfully. I left out some of the raisins because my stand mixer bowl wasn’t big enough for the recipe.  Later when I was reading over the recipe, I discovered that I left out other things as well, like the citron and vanilla. So, instead of just a little of the fruit bits that were supposed to be in there, I left out more than I thought.

I emailed my dad a picture even though it was late at night, half expecting him to call, because he does stuff like that. Alas, not this time. I was on my own. I did some research. I web crawled. I googled. I made notes. I talked to Mom the next day and she wasn’t sure what went wrong, she hadn’t made them in years.  My dad had taken over that tradition, so I asked her to have him call me when he got home from wherever he was. My dad called later and he gave me some suggestions. He was pretty “funny”. I told him what had happened and he said “I don’t know, that doesn’t happen to me”.  Gee, thanks Dad. I tossed all four cakes and started afresh. 

I’ve purchased more ingredients and will be giving this another go. I’ve made notes about a few high altitude baking tips. I’ll make half a batch at a time and only cook one at a time. Those suckers take three hours to bake so we’ll see how this goes. 

Second attempt – I greased the side of the pan instead of lining it with wax paper.  I reduced the oven temp and increased the cooking time and added an extra egg. I decided against cooking one pan at a time because I just didn’t want to invest 6 hours of cooking time (3 hours for each cake).  

2016-12-20-01-14-36

Nope. It ended up taking 4 hours to get these cakes to almost cooked in the middle, it was still gooey but the edges were still too cooked and dry. They still rose too much and then sunk in the middle.

Batch Three – I web crawled some more. I used my google-fu. I made more notes on high altitude baking. I used a Christmas spatula instead of the Halloween one I was using before. As before, the batter tasted amazing. Finally, some success! It hardly rose and barely sank in the middle. 

2016-12-21-19-01-38

They have been doused with rum, wrapped, and stored away to be enjoyed in a couple of months.  I’ve made careful notes on what I done.

I skipped the extra egg.  I decreased sugar, baking soda, and oven temp and increased baking time.  Also, and I think this is the thing that did the most good, I mixed everything together by hand.  I went ahead and used the beater for the butter/sugar/egg mix but folded everything else together gently. Mixing in one egg at a time seemed to make a difference in the batter. I can just see the cooking goddesses out there rolling their eyes. The theory of hand mixing is that using the stand mixer for the final batch adds too much air which causes the cake to rise too much.  You then get a collapse in the middle leaving burnt edges and gooey centers.  Next year, I may fiddle with things and only do the hand mixing just to see how much of a difference the variations in ingredients make.

I called my dad and told him my news. He congratulated me and sounded pleased while probably shaking his head and thinking I’m a goofball.

Ramblings from the past week

I have Christmas knitting that is screaming to be done and I’m starting a new project. A Halloween project. It’s a hat. You’d think I’d be done with hats for now, but apparently not.

2016-12-12-11-31-04
I have a bad case of startitis. Instead of also starting a blanket with the Caron Cakes I bought at a great sale at Michael’s, I calmed my nerves by dumping all my notions into one pile and sorting them into their separate bags. I do this periodically. I have three notions bags that I carry around and they all have the same things in them. It didn’t help as much as I’d hoped. 

2016-12-11-18-19-02
These were supposed to be for Danica’s birthday, but may end up as a Christmas present.

2016-12-13-02-09-44
Things are bigger in Texas. Even constitutions. 

2016-12-10-15-01-59

I totally nailed was really happy with the Christmas party appetizers.

2016-12-06-16-11-13 2016-12-06-16-32-44

I cleaned out a shelf and Keaton claimed the spot as his.

2016-12-08-09-21-20

Happy Birthday Danica!

Happy Birthday to my eldest child. This is the poor kid who had to teach me how to be a mother and had to put up with my first batch of parenting mistakes. Despite that, she’s turned into an intelligent, capable, and beautiful woman. She’ll graduate in the spring with a degree in digital animation.

2016-11-06-12-14-44

Happy Birthday, baby girl, Mommy loves you.