Welcome Blue Sky

So good to see you friend.  I’ve missed you.  What, you ask,  have I been up to during these cold grey days of January?

Well,  firstly I have been “nursing” a broken arm which I acquired just as 2009 was being ushered out.  Yes, yes, I was ice skating with my daughter, watching that beautiful amazing moonrise and found myself face down on the ice.  I quickly popped up and tried to shake it off but knew something was not quite shakeable.  Spent the evening with an icepack and pillow and visited the doctor on Jan 1 who confirmed the break.  Since it is right at the bend of my elbow and because I am not a risk taking teen, the orthopede felt it best not to cast it.  Woo Hoo!  So that has meant no more skating (which I may have been tempted to do with a cast), or rock climbing, sledding, scone making, or shoveling(!).  It’s ok really but perhaps making melon balls (cateloupe in January, Yum!) last night was not a good idea, what with the twisting and all.

I have been reading a bit more, making lists of recipes to try, crafts to start.  Watched Julie and Julia on DVD,  (Love, love, love it!)  and a fair amount of ice skating on TV.  And yesterday I taught myself to crochet.  I can make a great bookmark, remember those twisty caterpillars from the ’70s?  I even have a ball of the same yarn with which my grandma first taught me all those years ago.    And I have recently become obsessed with the yarn aisle at the craft store.  Oh to crochet something with those beautiful variegated sock yarns!

Yes, yes.  I have plans for 2010.  How about you?

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 11:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Yarn Bag

Every January I make a list of very modest goals I hope to achieve in the coming year.  Last year I did pretty well.  On the list this year is to learn to crochet because I so want to make many of the cool things I’ve seen around the blog world (fingerless gloves, granny squares, scarves and so much more).

The last time mom and dad had a garage sale my mom decided to part with her stash of wool spools and wooden beads, patterns from when she used to make clothes for me as a child,  felt from craft projects long passed.  We traded for a year’s worth of handmade greeting cards, though I did let the wooden beads slip away.  And may I just say that old craft felt is so much better than the stuff that is out there now.  The colors were amazing and it was even thicker.  Projects to come.

Back to the wool yarn.  There used to be an amazing yarn shop just around the corner from where we live, long since gone, that stocked much of what mom used for her projects.  Many she gave as gifts, others she sold at craft shows.  Hmm, this apple really didn’t fall far.  I remember going in that shop with her and thinking, some day when I’m all grown up I will shop at cool yarn shops and fabric shops and because I will be an adult, I will magically know what to do with it all.  As a kid my purchases leaned more toward Mrs. Grossman’s stickers and paper-by-the-pound (remember that stuff?)

This is the stash, in a shopping bag from about 1979 or there abouts, when THE MALL opened in our area.  That thing looked like a flying saucer landed in a field surrounded by these eerie tall parking lot lights.  As we drove over the hill and first saw the thing, that was what was fresh in our minds, a “Close Encounter”.  The mall had such lovely stores like Marshall Fields and Lord and Taylor, with the creakiest parquet floor, and Scandinavian Design.  Of course the mall area has changed immensely, but it used to be cool to say you were going to the mall.  Now I avoid it at all costs.  (I’d rather go to the thrift store!)  And that cute little Fox in the jaunty red hunting suit isn’t even around anymore.

So here’s the stash of wool.  Think I’ll start with the other stuff below.

What should I make first?

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 10:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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Penny Dolls

Growing up I had a grandma who lived in California and being the daughter of educators, we had the summers off to travel.  So every other summer we’d pack up the “family truckster”  for a six week trek across the U.S.  Remember the Ford Country Squire?  Ours was beautiful back in the day, pale yellow with faux wood side panels and the coolest back hide away seats.  No car seats required  for ten year olds in the seventies.  We’d hook on our Apache pop-top camper and drive. . . . And drive some more until we could see that unending stripe of bouganvilla that lined the highway right to grandma’s house.

Once we arrived and settled into our assigned spaces for the next three weeks or so, and had our first taste of still-warm from the field grapes grown by my Uncle Al, Grandma would reveal the gifts she’d squirreled away for us.  The tiny little corner room that I claimed as my own during these visits was a treasure trove of stuff, (now I know where I get it, this squirreling away of stuff), and she would come out with amazing little things, many of which I still have, like those tiny little paper wedding favor flowers which became bouquets for Barbie and the most scrumptious piece of  burgundy velvet which of course became her gown, soaps with our names embossed in gold letters on them, teeny little note books,  those mini state license plates with our name on them.

Another time she brought out a box of these tiny dolls.  There are 18 of them each about two inches tall and standing on a penny though the mermaid is perched atop a tiny seashell.  I don’t remember where she said they came from.  No penny is dated after 1954 and the little “award” they are pictured with reads “Doll Show Smallest Doll 1955”.    The details are amazing.  (Click to see them close up)   There is a nurse, a nun, hula dancer, bride, Amish lady, Flamenco dancer, Indian girl and more.

But my favorite is probably the little Dutch girl shown below.

Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 10:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Cute Photo’o the Day

I was going through my photo files and found these.  I had forgotten that I took them.  My mother lets the grand kids name some of her cats and they usually get “Star Wars” names.

This is Anakin:

Published in: on January 10, 2010 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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This is a photo of the staggering amount of canning my mother-in-law does, every year.  Most of what you see is cider pressed from their own apples through a 100 year old press.  Making cider in the fall is one of my favorite family activities, especially when warm cinnamon rolls follow and we can sit around the fire pit and taste test.

Here you see 24 gallons of cider, in quart jars.   My mother-in-law also cans tomatoes for sauce (20 quarts) and salsa, and makes the most delicious peach jam.  No peaches this year due to a very late spring freeze and all those beautiful buds never formed.  New Year’s morning we had peach french toast and warm cider to drink.

Good stuff indeed.

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 10:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mashed Potatoes

These are the mashed potatoes that we had at Christmas dinner.  If I may say so myself, I do think that these are the world’s best mashed potatoes.  It is a simple recipe:  5 Lbs Russet/Golden potatoes, 8 oz cream cheese and 2 sticks of butter.

I won’t bore anyone with the instructions on how to actually make the mashed potatoes as that should be just one of the most basic elements of kitchen knowledge.

I once made this recipe with an extra 2 sticks of butter.    Decadently rich!!!!!!!

The greatest culinary affront in the history of food  has to be  any type of processed potato flakes.  AKA —– Old Country Buffet  “mashed potatoes”  BLECH!!!!

The first rule ofgreat mashed potatoes is……….. Not only is it OK to have lumps, it is better !!!!!

Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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