Abbiegrey, this one’s for you.

So, three years ago (yes, I’m that bad), I promised to post a recipe for cream puffs to the above person in a Ravelry group.  Oh, I just hope she’s okay with “better late than never”.  Here’s the recipe:

First, you make the dough known as pate de choux (or in English: choux paste).  You will need:

1 cup hot water

1/2 cup butter

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt.

Bring these four to a rolling boil.  Then add, all at one time:

1 cup sifted flour

Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a smooth ball.  Remove from heat.  Quickly beat in (using wooden spoon), one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition:

4 eggs

Continue beating until thick and smooth.  Dough may now be shaped and baked at once, or wrapped in waxed paper and stored overnight in the refrigerator.

To shape:

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.  Dough can also be squeezed through a pastry bag for eclairs, or dropped by rounded teaspoonfuls for mini cream puffs.

Bake at 450 degrees Farenheit for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees Farenheit and bake 5 minutes longer or until golden in color.  Fill as desired when cool.

Makes about 1 dozen large or 4 dozen mini cream puffs.  I’ve never done the eclairs but I would think you’d get about 2 dozen of those.

I originally made cream puffs for the feast of St. Joseph.  You can see the picture here.

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Hello again

Yes, I promise, I am still alive.  Busy but alive.  I promised pictures of BooBoo’s Halloween costume.  Here they are:

I used the hood pattern from the original Matthias’ Oversized Monk’s Robe (aka the poncho).  If I had realized that the hood wouldn’t quite cover his neck, I would have adjusted that as well.  Yes, I do have friends who think I’m a perfectionist.  It’s okay, you’re in good company.

The ball of leftover yarn against one of my smaller casserole dishes.  This particular one made a great candy dish when we hosted the August, September & October birthdays of DH’s family at our house.  Mind you, it was a candy dish for 20 people.  And btw, isn’t it a beautiful casserole dish.  I bought it at the local Renaissance Festival from a mom & pop company called Schroeder Pottery.  They came to the festival from Iowa.

BooBoo seated in his costume.  That grin was worth all that stockinette stitch.  I had to pull up the bottom about 6 inches to even see his feet.  It’s oversized enough to last him at least a couple of years.  He grew 3/4 of an inch in the past month so my time estimate may be wishful thinking.

And I am soooo not knitting next year’s costume!  I forget what he said he wanted to be, but I will sew it and leave my knitting time for better things.

The Hairy Hot Pink leg warmers were also a success.  A friend had asked me to knit them as a Christmas gag gift for her brother.  Seems he had made a comment about how if leg warmers were coming back in style, that maybe she could hold out hope that fuschia (the color) would come back in style too.  Her bridesmaids dresses were fuschia.  So I found a nice deep hot pink yarn and a similar shade in Fun Fur and knit two striped leg warmers for her.  I’ll have to check my camera to see if I took pictures of the leg warmers.

Edited to add:  My quote disappeared so I’ll have to try it again.  So sorry for the flub.  Also, no pics of the leg warmers.  That is both bad & good-kind of glad no one else will see them.

“Ours is the age that is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to.”  H. Mumford Jones

I agree.  What do you think?

My knitterly ways

I just picked up Elizabeth Zimmerman’s book Knitting Without Tears.  I’ve been knitting for 34 years but started knitting with her book Knitting Around a few years ago.  I like the way she writes her instructions.  I truly enjoy all of her “digressions” as she calls them.  Maybe that’s why my blog is not purely a knitting blog.  Okay, that reason and the fact that it takes me so long to knit things “in my spare time” as it were, that  posting would be too sporadic for anyone to want to follow this blog.

My favorite (okay new favorite) quote from Knitting Without Tears is about scarves (no, I didn’t start at the beginning and read the whole book yet.  I peeked at the back and found this gem.).

“They (scarves) may be made back and forth on two needles, with as many stitches as you wish; the length is governed only by your patience and stamina.”

Well, I’ve been working off and on toward a scarf for Ditty and I think my patience and stamina are both getting a bit thin.  Unfortunately, I have no one to blame but myself.  I decided to knit the scarf rather than a pair of mittens out of the excess yarn that I bought to make her a hat.  Why I thought that a pattern which said two hats could be made from one ball of the recommended yarn would somehow require three balls of said yarn, I do not know.  Maybe I had initially wanted to make a hat, mittens and scarf but it was last year that I made the hat, so the initial intent is no longer in my memory.

But here’s a photo of the beginnings of the scarf.

And one of the current progress on the scarf.

The pattern is inspired by the Double Cable Scarf in Leigh Radford’s book One Skein.  I decided to skip the ribbing in between the two sets of double cables and just cable the whole scarf.  I also decided that a 38 inch scarf is really too short for a girl, so I added a second skein of yarn.  I also did this so that when I reversed the cable twist, I wouldn’t have to figure out where the halfway point was going to land-just cable up the first skein and then cable down with the second.  It seemed brilliant at the time, but like I said, my patience and my stamina are wearing a bit thin with all those cables.  At least it will be a pretty scarf when it is done.  And a one-of-a-kind as well, lol.

To break up the monotony or to just give me a break, I’m also knitting Matthias’ Oversized Monk’s Robe for BooBoo.  He wants to be Matthias from Brian Jacques book Redwall for Halloween next year.  This (ahem) little project was inspired by the book Great Yarns for a Close Knit Family by Mary C. Gildersleeve.  The book gives a brief description of a story that the author and her family enjoy as a read aloud and she has designed a couple of patterns to go with each story.  Redwall is mentioned as one of the stories, so I hoped to find a monk’s habit pattern to knit for BooBoo.  I know, silly to think someone would knit a full monk’s habit, but I had hoped.  Mrs. Gildersleeve’s pattern for Matthias’ Oversized Monk’s Habit was a very large, hooded poncho.  Rats!  Since I wanted something that looked like an actual monk’s habit, I knew I would have to design it myself.

Here’s where reading (and believing in) Elizabeth Zimmerman’s no nonsense approach to knitting came in handy. 

I knit some stockinette stitch on size 8 needles to find my gauge with the (yuck!) acrylic yarn I would be using for the costume.  No one, in my opinion, should use good wool yarn for a costume.  Especially one that will drag in the mud and muck that usually comes with Halloween in these parts.  So acrylic it had to be. 

Size 8 needles seemed to be the right size to give me a knitted fabric that would be neither too tight (meaning I’d have to knit forever to get the thing to the right size) or too loose (meaning large gaping holes that make it look like moths have attacked a monk’s habit-the nerve!).

Once I found my gauge, I cast on the number of stitches that would give me a 36 inch circumference.  BooBoo is a skinny kid so a 36 inch chest will look plenty big on him both this year and next.  I then knit in the round twelve rows of garter stitch for the hem of the robe.  After all, who really wants to have to sew a hem after all that knitting.  A garter stitch bottom seemed to be the answer to my prayers.  I switched to stockinette stitch after that for the body of the garment.  Then I measured BooBoo from the floor to his armpit to determine the length I would need to knit before having to worry about, I mean plan out the sleeve and yoke shaping.  I added two inches to this measurement to give me more time length to the garment.  It is supposed to be oversized and since he’s been growing close to two inches a year lately, this seemed to be a wise thing to do if I want the thing to be truly oversized.

Here’s a photo of my progress so far.

The robe measures 22 inches in length so far.  Only 22 more to go before I have to w plan for those sleeves, etc.  Gee, if I get this done by February, BooBoo could even wear it for the Dress as your favorite Book Character Day at his school during I Love To Read month.  Pressure, pressure.  We’ll see how it goes I guess. 

I’ll update on the progress again once I’ve got some sleeves  or a finished scarf to show you.  Until then,

Happy Knitting!

A sweater update

I was just over on Ravelry and realized that I haven’t posted an update on BooBoo’s sweater lately.  I have finished the body and the sleeves and managed to get them joined.  Still no pictures though.  Then the cold weather snap forced me to knit this for Ditty.

The Amanda Hat by Gina House aka Sleepy Eyes Knits.  The pattern is available as a free download from www.ravelry.com .  This was a very quick knit given the number of yarn overs needed to complete the lace pattern.  I adjusted the crown decreases to include a round of knit after the knit 1 knit 2 together round.  Then I did a round of knit 2 together to reduce the number of leftover stitches gathered to six.  This closed the top of the hat nicely and didn’t leave a hole that would have needed covering by a pompom (something an 11 year old girl would not have appreciated-being newly fashion conscious and all).  And this hat only used 1/2 of an $11 skein of yarn, so I have enough leftover to probably get a reasonable neck gaiter (tubular knit used to keep the neck warm instead of a scarf with flapping ends) out of the rest.  Two winter wear accessories for $11 is a very good deal.  I did buy three skeins of this colorway (don’t know why-probably because I just love the softness of this yarn and snatch up as much as I can each time I go in that store), so I actually have enough to knit Ditty a real scarf and probably mittens too.  I think I’ll do the mittens first, that way if the yarn is used up quickly I can change my mind on the scarf and just do a gaiter.

By jingo, she really went and did it!

Yes, I joined a gym today.  No more putting off losing the extra weight I gained while pregnant, the baby is now 8 years old.  No more hemming and hawing and hoping the weight will just fall off, it hasn’t yet and it would break something if it did.  My goal is to lose 12 inches at my waistline-must do, and if possible about 50 pounds.  If my hips, thighs, butt and arms get more toned in the process-all the better.  I wouldn’t mind a stronger back and better posture but that might be asking too much at this late date.

I went in to the gym with the coupon we had received in the mail.  I had originally planned to just do the coupon and a month to month plan.  But then I started thinking “What if I drop the plan over the summer?  What would I have to pay to get back in?  And would it really be worth that?”  I have to admit that if I did drop out over the summer, I probably wouldn’t go back.  And that would be bad. . . very, very bad.  I need to lose the inches and the weight to get back a healthy version of me. 

And I want that healthy me!  I want to be around to dance at my children’s weddings (or celebrate their ordination/profession of vows).  I deserve to put my health on the front burner.  After all, if I kick it early, who’s going to take care of the kids, the house and the goldfish?  And who’s going to make sure DH stays healthy too?  The kids can get him to buckle up in the car, but they haven’t successfully lobbied for him to get more exercise yet.  I’m honestly not sure they even think about it.  They are both still young enough to think DH & I are immortal.  Sweet thought, but it’s time to be realistic and get proactive with the exercise plan.  So I’m signed up for an 18 month contract and I’ve got an appointment with a personal trainer on Monday.

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BooBoo’s sweater has been put on hold while I quickly knit up a hat for Ditty.  The girl has gotten fashion conscious lately and hasn’t wanted to wear any of the hats she currently possesses.  I’m knitting the Amanda hat from Ravelry for her.  She approved the pattern last night.  Good thing too as I was all the way through the garter ribbing and just about finished with the first twelve rounds of the lace.  I’ll post pics when it’s finished.

The housecleaning plan I posted earlier is still working great.  I got most of the laundry finished yesterday and have just one more load to do tonight.  This after not being home most of the day due to mass, gym tour, adoration, a catch-up on the Epic session I missed due to BooBoo’s strep throat and errands.  So I do get to have a life outside of housework if I just stick to the plan.  WooHoo!

What happened to summer?

I am currently wrapped around a bowl of homemade oatmeal & a hot cup of coffee.  Didn’t think this would happen until fall!  The temp inside our house is a chilly 68 degrees farenheit and the AC hasn’t been on since it rained on Saturday.  The temp outside is supposed to peak around 74 degrees today, but the wind is still going to be strong and gusty.  I even told the kids that we would wait to do our weeding of the garden today until it warms up outside.  We usually do the weeding in the morning before it gets too hot.

We went out on a local lake yesterday afternoon with the two younger kids.  Forgot the tow rope at home so we just stayed at the beach and they went swimming and built sand castles.  On the way back across the lake, the boat motor died.  We tried to flag down some help, but the one boater who saw us thought we were just waving at him.  Not alot of boat traffic on that lake that day.  The wind was very strong and we eventually drifted close enough to shore that Papa Bear got out and started pulling the boat around the lake.  Just as we were passing the second house, an elderly gentleman in his motorized chair  came out onto his dock and asked if we needed help.  Chivalry is not dead.  He called his son who lives on the other side of the lake and his son pulled our boat to the landing.   HUGE THANKS to them both!  We had planned to be off the lake and headed for home by 5:30.  Lucky for us that we were only an hour later than that, if we had needed to pull/push the boat ourselves we would have been lucky to get off the lake before dark.  It’s a rather large lake and we were on the opposite end of it when the motor died.  I was contemplating jumping in to help if/when the water got too deep for DH to touch bottom in spite of not having worn my swimsuit that day and the fact that I do not like cold water or sticky wet clothing.  DH would have protested, mainly because he has convinced himself that I can’t swim.  I swim just fine, I simply prefer not to unless the air temp is in the 90’s.  He’s part fish and can’t understand that at all.  Ditty takes after her father in her swimming habits, BooBoo is more like me.  He wants a nice warm swim if he must and will frolic in the water to the fullest when the air temp is warm enough.

Other than that, we have kept busy around here.  It’s probably time for calling friends and setting up playdates for the younger kids as they are starting to get bored with each other.  Nothing major, just the “I’m sick of playing the same games/watching the same shows all the time” stuff.  We’ll see what the rest of the week brings and maybe just get them out of the house more.

On the knitting/crocheting front, I have been slowly making progress on Ditty’s summer sweater.  I’m thinking of turning it back into a vest, but I’m still split on that thought.  Since I haven’t yet gotten the bottom part wide enough to go round her middle yet, I still have time to sort it out.  I was on Ravelry today and found out that they have 274 pages of free patterns that have been shared.  At approximately 20 patterns per page, the sheer volume of what is there is mind boggling.  Granted, many of the patterns are for hats, scarves and fingerless gloves/arm warmers, but wow what a treasure trove of possibilities.  I’ve managed to get through page 30 and placed several patterns into my Ravelry library, including a hat for Ditty made with Malabrigo yarn.  That should use up the leftover skein of Malabrigo from her winter sweater, yes!

BooBoo has a baseball game tonight and Ditty has her first flute lesson and a soccer game tomorrow.  That should keep them happy for a couple days while I figure out where we can go for some fun & sun.  I’ve added a Recipes page and will post some recipes soon since I enjoy cooking as much as I enjoy knitting/crocheting.

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