Saturday, April 21, 2012

Amy's Own Sock Club

So a girl can collect a lot of yarn. Especially a sock-knitting girl. It's really easy. Especially with socks. Because you only need one skein of yarn to make a pair of socks. And when you see that a beautiful, soft, squishy yarn is on sale in a color you don't have a pair of sock in yet, well . . . you get the picture.

As such, I seem to have collected enough yarn to knit nine pairs of socks (and that's not counting the two pair - that's right, two pair - that are currently on my needles). This being the case, I've concocted my own sock club (inspired by the Yarn Harlot). I've paired each yarn with a pattern and packaged them all up so I can just grab a bag and go. Now, since I have a very accident-prone, investigatory, one-year-old, I may not be able to manage the traditional one pair a month schedule. I figure, once I'm done with one pair, I'll pickup and start the next. I can at least count on a couple nap-times a week, right? It's a possibility. And in the end, I'll have 11 new pairs of socks to wear. And I'm telling ya, nothing beats a great pair of hand-knit socks. Nothing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

40 for 40: Month 4

So it was a little crazy this month with all the candy making, but I'm still making progress on that 40 for 40 list. Here's where it stands:

  • Yoga Classes Taken: 11
  • Scrapbook Pages Uploaded: 61
  • Pintrest Ideas Completed: 37
  • The knee socks are slow going:

             (But they are going to look AWESOME when they are done!)

  • My Amy Quilt top has been completed; ready to figure out the next step.
  • I went on a date with RJH for his birthday.
  • I went mushroom hunting twice - it was a bust both times. It's been a strange season so far.
  • And I finally got my file drawers organized. 
Not too shabby for a busy month!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Great Candy Making Adventure Review

I am proud to say, I did it. Well, there was one candy variety I didn't make, but that is because I already had so much I knew it wouldn't get eaten.

I made:

Salted Caramels - so delicious and easy. These will definitely make it into the Christmas present rotation.
Gumdrops - as you can read here, I loved them and they were yummy! I let them cure for a week. It was a good call.
Chocolate Dipped Oreos - 'nough said. So, so good.
Chocolate Pretzel Sticks - also good
Caramel Filled Chocolate Eggs - Really good. Absolutely worth doing again, but trying with a bit of cinnamon, lavender syrup, orange essence, coconut...mmmm.
Chocolate Bunny Pops - these were just so-so.

The best part? I didn't have to worry about my baby getting ahold of anything nutty (except his relatives, of course), and everyone found something they liked. If you have the urge, I highly recommend candy making. Most people think you worked really hard and the compliments feel pretty damn good.

I used my Silhouette machine to make these darling carrots (that were the perfect house for the gumdrops). I also used it for the little blue bunny box in the photo above. I even found foil wraps (in the candy making aisle!) for the chocolate eggs.

Happy Easter, Easter Bunny. Bawk, bawk!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Great Candy Making Adventure: Gumdrops!

So the most amazing thing happened: the gumdrops are great! The first attempt seems to have been wildly successful. And aside from being time consuming, they are really pretty easy.

I was able to use this Tupperware veggie tray to divide the syrup so I could color and flavor each section separately. Bonus points to the natural food dyes for not staining the tray!

The mixture was cloudy, but once I sliced them and rolled them in sugar, it wasn't even noticeable. Also, using a hot knife to slice these was a terrific idea.

And this is what they looked like once they were rolled in sugar:

Awesome! At this stage you could totally stop and call them fruit jellies and be golden. I'm tied to the idea of gumdrops, however; so I will be curing them for two days to see what happens. As such, I've had to take protective measures:

So far, so good. I'll keep you posted!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Great Candy Making Adventure Continues

Today I tackled gumdrops for the first time. These little candies are not for the impatient. Cook, flavor and color today; chill for 24 hours; cut and finish tomorrow; cure for two days. That's right: TWO DAYS. Not a last minute project for sure.

I decided to give them a go today incase they don't go as planned. (And let's face it, when does a project ever go as planned?) I will at least have time to try another batch before Easter. I was pleased to find pure anise, lemon, lime, orange, peppermint and vanilla extracts to use. And thank you India Tree for the natural food dyes! They may not be as vibrant as the store-bought version, but there should be some variation in color. And that's a luxury around here any way you slice it.

I will post pictures no matter the outcome once the little beauties are chilled thoroughly. I'm hopeful. I did as much research as I could. Now we wait.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Great Candy Making Adventure Begins

Jack has developed a peanut allergy. It's mild and causes no airway restriction. We're lucky. But apparently, the more exposure he gets, the worse it could become. So I'm being careful. A LOT careful.

This brings us to Easter. As I was shopping for Easter candy to fill the baskets, I realized that there will not be any commercially made candy in our house this year. If it's chocolate, it's been manufactured in a facility that could have used nuts on the same machine (it says so right in the package). And if it's not chocolate, it's packed full of artificial dye; Hayes is a hot mess if he gets ahold of that. So this leaves me the alternative of making it myself. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, it's all me. And I could not be more grateful that my in-laws will be here the week prior to Easter morning. I'll need the time!

The plan then, is to make all of the following:
Gumdrops (& I have to admit, I'm excited about this one!)
Salted Caramel filled chocolate eggs
Lemon chews
Chocolate covered Oreos
Chocolate pretzel rods
Molded chocolate lollipops

I have some thoughts about natural food dyes, I'm hoping will work out. And thank heaven for Pintrest! So many great ideas out there. Right now, my hopes are high. Stay tuned for the unfolding story of the Great Candy Making Adventure!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 04, 2012

40 for 40: week 9

It's been busy around here - so busy that February flew right by without a post! So here it is, the updated 40 for 40 progress report:

Yoga classes taken: 8
Scrapbook pages uploaded: 45
Pintrest ideas completed: 24

The reclaiming of the closet has morphed into a brand new addition to the house - that is in the final planning stages. Then it's off to the HOA to get approval. Huzzah!

And I have cast on the first of 2 fabulous knee socks. They will certainly be a long term project, but I am hopeful they will be worth it! Plus, I love Glenna C's amazing sock patterns. You can check out the Neptune High socks here. Mine will be in pumpkin and chocolate! And hopefully ready for fall :).

Lastly, I've almost completed the top to my Amy quilt. I'll be moving on to creating the binding soon.

Progress feels good, but I'm aching to cross something off that list soon!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

40 for 40: week 2

Quietly chugging along. I love that my 40 for 40 list contains items that are not quick to be crossed off; it means I really will be at it all year. And that was certainly the point. But I do love crossing things off a list; it just feels so good! Some things did get crossed off this week, while other items progressed more slowly. Here's where it stands:

Yoga classes taken: 1
Scrapbook pages uploaded: 21

Pintrest ideas:

  1. Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins - awesome
  2. Eveie Peasy Legwarmers - so cute and perfect for Jack
  3. Free Fonts - downloaded and ready for scrapping
  4. Knitterella gift tags purchased and ready for gifting
  5. Sutter's Mill Throw - in progress 
  6. Vintage Circus Party Printables - being printed and used for Jack's 1st birthday
  7. Pots and Pans Storage - purchased and awaiting install
  8. New book downloaded and ready for reading

I am still researching retreats for ARK and me. We are thinking New Mexico.

Still no word from the contractor on the closet space...need to bid it out again.

We went to a FANTASTIC restaurant last night, Room Four, which I had never been to before. The seasonal menu is just perfect and the place is not pretentious. Thanks Mugeles, it was so worth the trip.

Monday, January 09, 2012

New Tradition?

I hope so. I got this wild, crazy, amazing idea to knit Jack a new sweater every year for his birthday. Let's face it, the kid is growing like a weed, and when your birthday is in February, a sweater can come in mighty handy. And I'd have an entire month after the Christmas knitting to pull something together. Plus, at least for now, knitting a sweater for a baby is, well, not that intimidating. Especially when you can do it with no seams. I know! I give you the Basic Seamless Raglan Pullover pattern by Leisure Arts. For this sweater I used a number of yarns that I'd been collecting because I just couldn't help myself. (For those who need to know, it's Plymouth Encore Worsted.) I'm very pleased with the result, and it only took me a week to whip it up. Not too shabby. At that rate, I can at least keep up the tradition for a couple more years, right?

Saturday, January 07, 2012

40 for 40: week 1

So I'm really geeked about my 40 for 40 list. I've already been working on several of my goals. I've completed 2 pintrest projects and have 3 more in the works. You can follow my 40 for 40 pintrest board here if you have any interest. I've gotten back into the scrapbooking I put down last fall; it looks like I have about a quarter of scrapbook ready to print. And we have a contractor getting us an estimate for the closet project. I'd say I'm off to a good start. It's gonna be a great year!