Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Catching Up #2

I have been looking back over my knitting projects and have come to the realization I am not very good at remembering to document them.  And when I do remember, it almost always appears as if I just took the photo to get it over with; no thought to presentation or aesthetic.

Case in point: great niece's scarf and hat set which I made for her Christmas gift.  Here is the hat, made from Bernat Pipsqueak in the Candy Girl colorway using no written pattern, just cast on and knit, knit, knit until I decreased for the crown.

The hat is just plopped, I'm not sure where, and I didn't even stuff it to make it look like it would on a head. Where is the scarf you ask?  I forgot!!!  And my kitchen creations fare no better.

Guess I have two new goals: better document my creations with pictures, no matter what sticks and string I use, and display them in a more attractive way.  Tips welcomed!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Baking and Chemistry

I love to bake. Cookies, cakes, pies, breads, muffins - it doesn't matter - I'll make them.  Part of my enjoyment comes from family legacy: my sister enjoys baking, my grandmothers were great bakers, and my great-grandmother baked pies well into her 80s.  But the other enticement?  It's chemistry.  All baking relies on a chemical reaction between the ingredients.  It is fascinating watching it happen.

Today I made Shoo Fly Cake, a sweet molasses cake that is a staple in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where I lived almost half of my life.  This cake is truly a testimony to the marvelous reactions that occur when certain ingredients make contact.  Here is the chemistry in action.

Dry ingredients: 4 cups flour, 2 cups light brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 cup shortening.  Mix to make crumbs. Reserve 1 cup of this mixture for later.

Next, some of the wet ingredients + the magic dry ingredient: 1 cup Grandma's Molasses (yellow label), 1 egg, 1 tablespoon baking soda.

Now for the catalyst: 2 cups boiling water. 

And reaction!  Love the foamy bubbles!

Add the dry ingredients to this mixture and pour into 9x13 pan, sprayed with cooking spray.

Top with the reserved dry mixture.

To complete the chemical reaction add heat!  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

This cake is delicious served warm or cold.  In fact, this is the cake my husband has requested I make for him to take to work on his birthday.  One catch - I'll need to make two of them!

So today my Sticks and String were a wooden spoon and my apron.  Hope you enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Catching Up #1

So...what have I been working on in these long breaks from blogging??  Well, I have a great niece who is part fashionista, part tomboy, part princess.  She is fascinated by my knitting and has made some attempts at doing it herself, but usually can't sit still long enough for more than 5 stitches.  Last fall I promised her a knitted scarf, so I found some pink and purple chunky yarn and made her this:

If you look closely, you will see some very sparkly beads at the top of each strand of fringe.  After all, a princess needs here bling!  My husband helped me find these wonderful baubles that picked up on the colors in the scarf.  We had one very happy great niece!

Stay tuned for more catching up!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Resuming blogging....I hope

I have decided that I will attempt to resume blogging in the spring, probably sometime in April due to my schedule.  My goal is to post once a week with a wider range of 'sticks' and 'string' subjects.  Because my hobby interests are not limited to knitting, by limiting my blogging to knitting I was frustrated with keeping it going.  

What are the other 'sticks' in my hobby life?  Sewing needles.  Quilting pins.  Wooden spoons and knives count too in my mind.  So I will be sharing from all my hobbies when I resume.  As glimpse into other things I enjoy, here is the picture of the stocking I made for one of my daughters-in-law in December.  I knew she wanted a gingerbread man and my course was set when I found the gingerbread print fabric.  The buttons came from my mother's button box, the shape of the gingerbread man from a free printable on the internet, and the rest was my own pattern.

See you in April!