Needle Tart

If I'm not knitting or sewing something, I must be cooking something!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Mouse 2

The former mouse is still making himself smelt. I have cleaned under (well, as far under as I can manage without moving a ton 'o books) all the furniture in the entry hall and there is no mouse, or former mouse, to be found. He does still add that certain something to the air, but The Husband says he must be in the wall. We will just have to wait.
As for how I know what a liquid mouse smells like: I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and if you've ever driven the back roads in August, especially a few days after a furry woodland creature met his semi, you, too would recognise the aroma of former mammel.
On the knitting front: I am still working on the Socks for Soldiers. Last week I was a reading teacher and had some time between classes. Out came the knitting.......Oh, no! I had lost one of my double pointed needles. Now what?

Yes, that is a paper clip. I used one of the large, thick ones to replace my bamboo needle (size 0), and I knit about 2 inches at school. When I got home I found the missing needle under the rocking chair. Good thing I am the only one who usually sits in it!

In other news this was the weekend to strain the pears!! Yippee!

Step one: Drain all the pears and spices out. The you are left with the bowl of golden goodness. Add the sugar syrup and bottle:

Mmmmmm!! Autumn goodness.

Here is the complete recipe:

Pear Liquor

2-gallon jar
Pears to fill the jar (quartered and cored but not peeled)
3 vanilla beans (cut in half)
4 inches of cinnamon stick
About 1/2 of a nutmeg, grated
Enough vodka to cover, 2 Fifths and a little more(Notice that I use Gordon's Vodka)

Put all the food-type stuff in the jar and let it sit in a dark, cool corner for six (yes, SIX) weeks. Once a week open the jar and stir the pears around. Don't forget to smell the pear-y goodness and lick any drips off your fingers (the first two or three weeks it will taste like straight vodka, but it gets better).
After the six weeks are up, strain all the pears, vanilla beans, and cinnamon out. (I start with a coarse strainer, then a fine strainer, and end with straining through coffee filters). Add sugar syrup (1/2 cup water, 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 3-4 minutes to be sure the sugar is dissolved) to taste (I used about 3/4 cup of syrup). Pour the golden goodness into sterilized bottles and cork or cap (don't worry about making it air tight. The alcohol will keep it OK). Now for the hard part: Put it away again for six more weeks (*weeps*) to let the flavor develop. If you started when pears were the ripest, you will have something special to toast the secular New Year! (It also makes GREAT winter holiday gifts!)
Of course, I did have to taste it to be sure that there was enough sugar in this year's batch. Yum!!

Monday, October 23, 2006


As I sit here at the computer, checking out all the blogs, I am treated to the wonderful smell of mouse past its expiration date, so this will be quick.
The Husband and I were discussing first jobs at dinner and I said, "Not only do I remember it, I know what I was knitting in the breakroom." I was working inventory in a small department store during summer vacation in highschool and I was knitting a lime green dress for my oldest niece (now the mother of two so guess what decade it was!). It had a pleated skirt and drop waist and the yarn was probably Baby Red Heart.
For all those who made it to Rhinebeck: Next year in New York! The Husband told me Rhinebeck is famous for having replicas of WWI aircraft and he would like to go see them. He told me TWO DAYS before Rhinebeck! Next year, or else!
On the knitting front I have finished and washed the Adrienne Vitadini sweater.
I really like the way it looks. I made the neck ribbing an inch shorter than the pattern called for and can't wait for a warm day to wear it! Maybe next May?

I am knitting away on the Socks for Soldiers. This week I am the art teacher at my school and her schedule allows for at least an hour's preparation time. As I don't have to write the lesson plans, it only takes me about 20 minutes to clean up, cut paper, sharpen pencils, and make notes about the day's progress. That means I get 40 minutes extra knitting time!!
Must go hunt for the former mouse. I just hope he isn't liquid! Ewwwww!!!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Four Things

Carzy Aunt Purl tagged all of us who read her today, so here are my four things:

Four Jobs I've Had:
1. Costume builder
2. Lab Assistant
3. Bank Teller
4. Music Teacher

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over
1. Bringing Up Baby
2. White Christmas
3. Casablanca
4. Princess Bride

Four Places I Have Lived
1. Bradford, PA
2. Nottingham, England
3. Escondido, CA
4. Altoona, PA

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch
1. How I Met Your Mother
2. House
3. Project Runway (can't wait until Jeffery the Jerk gets his!)
4. Daniel Boone (mmmm...Ed Ames)

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation
1. Disneyland (CA)
2. Toronto, Canada
3. Williamsburg, VA
4. Lewisburg, PA

Four of My Favorite Dishes
1. Apple Dumplings
2. Chinese Beef and Tomato stir fry
3. Macaroni and Cheese (with Artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers)
4. Grilled Cheese (on home baked bread) and tomato soup

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1. Crazy Aunt Purl
2. Yarnharlot
3. Cygnet
4. Over the Hedge

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
1. Italy
2. England
3. Sleeping
4. By the fire, knitting

What are your four things?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Looking around

Just a quick post to share. If you are into pod-casts try Lime n Violet. They are way funny and even talk about yarn now and then.
Having a bad day? Need three good reasons to keep going? Try the web site Three Beautiful Things. Things are pretty good chez moi right now, but there have been days that checking out his site might have made the day better (then again, it might have wanted to make me hurl, when I'm down, I like to enjoy being bitterly miserable).
What would be my three things today?
1. The hillsides around my area of the world:

2. Finishing Grandma Purl's blocks.

Details: Pink came from the Great American Aran Afghan (Knitter's). Blue is one of the state washcloth patterns.
Yarn in Knitpicks superwash marino in Bubblegum (pink) and Capri (I think, I already packed them up). Loved this yarn! Soft and pettable. It is a little lighter than regular worsted. One skein made two of each block.

3. The smell of the pear liquor! Sunday is stirring day until October 29th. That is the day I can drain the pears and add the sugar syrup, then wait another six weeks (*sigh*) to taste!

3 1/2. I think I finally have this link thing down, now if I could just add buttons.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Catching up

Oh, my! So much has happened over the last two weeks! I baked (and baked and baked!) for the holidays. Apple dumplings, pear coated cookies, pear liquor, dried pears (can you tell the pears in the backyard ripened?) chocolate chip cookies, milk and honey bread, challah (14 loaves!), sour cherry/chocolate hermit cookies, biscotti (vanilla and chocolate) and six formal meals for the Rabbi (who eats kosher style, meaning milk and meat cannot be served at the same meal but my kitchen does not have to be kashered). I belong to a small congregation and this year we hired a student Rabbi. She is smart and nice and we are lucky to have her. For the days she is here she needs a driver and someone to feed her (the congregation pays for a hotel room). As a member of the board I volunteered for Yom Kippur weekend. The Rabbi was great, but really, what was I thinking? I was already the co-chair of the Break the Fast meal and then I took on the Rabbi, too? Ah, well, we all survived and no one went hungry.
On the knitting front, I lost my voice (see above. Stress, you know?) for an entire week and I couldn't go into school so I caught up on my TV addiction and knit.

I have to finish the neck and armholes and sew the side seams. It is an Adrienne Vittadini pattern and the yarn is one I found in the sewing room during the great "Mom, my roommate is coming home with me for Rosh Hashanah" cleaning. The yarn is Red Heart cotton sport yarn and the whole sweater cost me less than three dollars. I made a few changes (you knew I would, didn't you?). The pattern calls for 4 sts/inch and that felt too loose so I knit it at 5.3 sts/inch and made adjustments for sizing. The shoulders are supposed to be seamed together and I used a three needle bind-off. I think that will be stronger and last better.

Aunt Purl asked us to take pictures of our knitting spots and mail them to her. Well, with all the commotion here I didn't get it mailed, but here is my spot:

My rocking chair is next to the window so I have great light, all my tools are in a basket next to me, there's a great big ledge to spread out the pieces of my project and there is a box of what we refer to as the "drug cookies". Reese's chocolate covered, peanut butter filled, cookies. A box of these rarely lasts 24 hours once opened. The afghan is a feather and fan made from some cheap yarn and really needs to be replaced. I see another project in the future! Where do you knit?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We Now Interrupt Our Regular Blog....

For an important announcement. Six months ago I had what the radiologist called an "irregular" mamogram. His advice was to repeat the test this month. Today the technician took three (3!) tries to get a clear image. Turns out I have two moles on my right breast and for the last two years the tech only marked one of them. Luckily, I have been going to the same place for my mamograms since the last century (Wow!). The tech and the radiologist looked up my past records and saw the mark, then (then?) they examined me in the flesh, so to speak, and all threats of disease were removed (well, for the present, at least).
What have we learned?
A. It's a good idea to go to the same place year after year, if at all possible, so they can check your records right there.
B. Know your body. I knew there were two marks on my skin.
C. Ask questions. If I had asked exactly where the problem was, I might have remembered that extra mark and saved a little concern (six months ago, I decided not to freak. Denial is so my river.)
D. Get your mamogram! If there had been a problem, it would have been caught really early and my options would have been more numerous.

We now return you to your regular blog (well, tomorrow, after a celebratory glass of something delicious.....and some cookies).