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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Garden Harvest: Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

We had about a quart of cherry tomatoes that I did not want to eat in salads or just plain.  What to do?  What to do?  Why not try roasting them?  Lots of vegetables taste wonderful roasted, even if they are not so hot raw or cooked other ways.  I repeat:  why not try roasting them?

This is what I did:

Washed the cherry tomatoes after removing a few stems.

Cut the tomatoes in half an put in a large bowl.

Poured a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over them and swished the bowl around to connect the tomatoes to the oil.

Sprinkled on 1 teaspoon granulated onions and garlic (50/50 mixture I had made to take on vacation and which needed to be used up), 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning--oregano, basil, etc.  (NOT Italian salad dressing mix), and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse Kosher salt.  Mixed well by sloshing the bowl around a bit to get the seasonings on all the tomato parts.

Roasted Tomatoes showing the caramelizing.

Put tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet that has been covered by parchment paper.  There will probably be a little some delicious "juice" in the bowl.  That can be used to flavor some other vegetable dish.

Place the pan in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 45 minutes or so.

They will be nicely caramelized and taste really delicious.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Handwork: Charity Knitting Project with Recycling Overtones

A couple of years ago I went to area thrift stores to find 100% wool sweaters that I could take apart for various projects.  At that time I wanted to make dryer balls instead of spending a lot of money for them.  I found a beautiful Ralph Lauren Polo Country pullover.    Eventually I pulled out the stitching at the shoulders with plans to use the sleeves for dryer balls.

Like so many of the "great ideas" that I have, this one turned out to be another failure.  The dryer balls from this sweater did not stay as balls.  When I was felting them they had dog ears and tails hanging off.  And that was just the problem with the balls themselves.  The main problem was that the dryer balls annoyed the other people drying clothes in our dryer.  Oh well.  Chalk it up to another idea which does not go over well with the rest of the family.

With no sleeves but a beautiful sweater body, I thought I could turn it into a vest with a little ribbing on the armholes.

The armhole with no ribbing in place

It was pretty easy to do.  The worst part was trying to find yarn to match the navy in the sweater. I had some Plymouth yarn that was pretty close and even had some wool in it. 

This is what I did:

Starting at the armpit, I picked up (with a crochet hook) 84 stitches more or less evenly spaced around the armhole. After putting on a marker to show where the beginning of the round started I did a K2, P2 ribbing for 5 rounds.  To bind off I used Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off(found at Knitty and also on YouTube if you prefer video tutorials) which I have discovered works very well.

Ribbing in place on first armhole 

When I first decided to do this recycling project I intended to use this "new" vest myself.  I love the pattern and colors.  Well, how can you go wrong with navy and natural cream colors?  However,  the other night I was at a meeting of the women in our Church where the leaders made a call for winter clothing for some refugees in the area.  I am more than happy to give up this vest.  I can only wear one thing and a time and I already have a sweater for winter.  I am hoping to go through our house in the next two weeks and pull out all the winter clothes that can be cleaned and mended, if need be, to give away.  The refugees will be warm and, BIG BONUS: we will have an emptier house!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Papercrafting: Cute Tiny Boxes

For several years I have had the fun of making boxes for the Mother's Day treats the ladies at Church receive.  Because there are quite a few to make, I start pretty early in the year.

This year I have been looking for some double-sided heavy card stock to make the pictured boxes. I had hoped for some 6" by 6" pads of paper but did not find any. I did find a 12" by 12" pad at Michael's in Mays Landing, New Jersey and grabbed it fast (since my math skills allow me to turn one 12 by 12 sheet into four 6 by 6 sheets...)!

Cute Boxes/Totes--two ways

These are the boxes I have made so far.  For the first video I watched on how to make this box/tiny tote, click here.  (I received an email from Split Coast Stampers which had the tutorial. I love those people.  They have so many great tutorials on paper crafting topics. ) For another of the videos I saw, click here.

What you need to make these cute boxes are an envelope punch board, (I have a "We R Memory Keepers" envelope punch board--find them at Michaels, A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby and use a coupon.  By the way, WeRMemoryKeepers have many different punch boards. I am tempted....) double-sided card stock cut 6 by 6, a small circle (or other shape) punch, embellishments if you want them, ribbon or twine for a closure, and glue.

You can fit three Lindt Chocolate truffles inside! Just in case you were wondering what you could put in these little guys....

Monday, October 24, 2016

Munchie Monday: Popcorn Treats!

Is there anyone who does not enjoy a rice krispie treat every once in a while?  I think not.  Especially when there are so many variations on the basic Rice Krispie Treat.  Well, I wanted to make some for our early morning crew but I did not have any Rice Krispies so I thought I would try them with popped corn.

This is what I did:

Popped corn to make 8 cups of fluffy popcorn.

Melted 4 Tablespoons of butter (Not margarine.  Go for the real thing.) in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-low heat.

Added 10 ounces marshmallows and stirred CONSTANTLY with a long-handled wooden spoon until the marshmallows were completely melted and smoothly incorporated into the melted butter.

Poured the hot syrup over the popped corn and stirred until all the kernels were covered in the sweet syrup.

Previously I had lined a 9 by 13 pan with parchment paper which I sprayed with a little non-stick spray.  When the popcorn was well mixed I pressed it into the pan and let it cool.

When completely cooled, I cut it into rectangles and put them on a plate for the early morning crowd, and went to bed.
Popcorn Treats ready to serve.

It turns out either 1.  there was no early morning crowd today, or 2.  they did not think they would be any good.  The plate appeared untouched.  So....since I did not dare have them in the house as I liked them just fine, I put them all in a package and delivered them to the grandchildren who, I feel certain, will like them very much.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Vacation Applesauce

Another thing you can make on vacation in a well-appointed kitchen:  applesauce.

This is what I did:

Washed and cored the apples we had brought from Vermont to Virginia to eat up before they softened.  Well, some of them HAD softened so to save their lives I made them into applesauce.

Put the cored and quartered apples into a saucepan with a little water...maybe a cup of water, just enough to cover the bottom and get steam going.  Put the cover on and started heating the pan.  In about 10 minutes I looked at the apples and stirred them around.  They had started cooking.  After another 5-6 minutes I checked again, and stirred them thoroughly again.  They were mostly cooked, so I put the cover back on and turned off the heat.  Since this was an electric cook top they could continue to enjoy heat for a little longer.

We left the hot applesauce to cool.  When we returned the apples were cool enough to blend up in the blender.  (Always check to see if you have a blender before starting a project like this...)  All the cooked apples in their skins fit into the blender. I added one-quarter cup sugar and blended these guys to pieces.  This turned out to be baby food applesauce, but it did taste good.  And the apples did not rot.  Well, one got away from us in the car and turned out to be what we were smelling when we got into the car the next day...
Applesauce made while on vacation away from home

Side story:
We went out for a couple of hours to look for a flash drive that the family history conference director told us we needed to have to download our presentations to so we could use them with the projectors.  We found a thumb drive at Best Buy in Mays Landing, New Jersey.  They did not have lanyards but said Staples did so we walked over to Staples.  They DID have lanyards but they were 1.  not attractive, and 2.  the same cost as the thumb drive!  Did not want to do that.  I had already gotten the more expensive thumb drive:  $11.99.

There was a Michael's store in the same plaza so we went over there (driving this time since my legs had had it with the cement underfoot...)  There we found a whole raft of lanyards for $3.99.  Most of them were gaudy horrible things that I would not wear.  There was one with fat fake pearls which was barely acceptable but the price was right and I needed something to keep the tiny electronic device from getting lost.

In the end it turned out to be unnecessary to have a flash drive, but now I have a nice thumb drive.  And on a lanyard!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Knitting: Third Shaker Cloth

Well, the third Shaker coaster cloth is done.  I moved to the size 4  needles.  Everything else was the same.  As you can see, this is still not small enough for a coaster.

One last time  I will try this pattern but will cut down the number of stitches to see if I can make a coaster.

"Coasters" knit on US 6, 5, and 4 needles.  Way too big.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Knitting Toys: Hammerhead Shark

Recently I received another toy request from young B.  He wanted a hammerhead shark.  A hammerhead shark?!!! That had never crossed my mind as a possible toy.  Fortunately someone else had thought of it.  "They are gray, Grammie," he told me, "and they can look in both directions."

Mary Kate Long posted this pattern for a hammerhead shark on Ravelry.com, a fabulous place to find free and for purchase patterns for absolutely anything you want to knit or crochet.

Because I had a few other projects going, I told B it would probably be after Christmas when I could work on the shark. He said that was okay since his birthday was after Christmas.  Very philosophical little creature....!
Hammerhead shark (or some other fish) with floppy dorsal fin, side fins, and tail fins.  Eyes on each side of the hammers.

However, on vacation I found some gray yarn, purchased it, and knit up the shark.  Very cute.  When home, I closed in the eyes, knit the fins and sewed them on and stuffed the shark.

Yesterday I took the shark to B.  He was home sick from school.  He immediately smiled when he saw what was in my hand and reached out for it.  He inspected it thoroughly then said, "This isn't really a hammerhead shark.  The mouth is supposed to be here! (pointing to a place closer to the front.  I must have misunderstood the directions...)... But I like this fish, whatever it is."  He is four years old.

Wrong mouth on hammerhead shark

He particularly liked the top fin.  "That is a dorsal fin, you know."  Well,  I had heard of dorsal fins but do not know if I would have picked that name out of a basket of names...

Anyway, he was happy.  I was happy to make it for him.  I expect his siblings will also be happy when they see it.  And it got finished before Christmas.