Monday, December 22, 2008

Secret Admirer?

Woke up this morning to discover these two interlocking hearts at the end of my driveway. Kinda odd, huh?



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Socks

It has been snowing like crazy here in Seattle for a week now. As I type, it is snowing again.


I took the above picture from my backdoor. It shows an accumulation of all the snow we've had since a week ago yesterday. I'm guessing it is a least a foot of snow.


There is a crust of about an 1/8 of an inch to 1/4 of an inch over the top of the snow which you can see broken up from where my dog, Pachebel, walked when I let her out earlier.


She was none to fond to be outside!


The snow has been good for one thing though. I was able to finish a pair of socks that I started when I was teaching a friend how to knit socks. If you think your monitor is off or the lighting in my picture is off, because the two socks are different shades, you'd be wrong. They are actually different shades of the same colorway. One of the socks is much darker then the other. Something I didn't notice until I started knitting the second one. Don't know if they are from different dyelots or not since I threw away one of the ball bands.

The yarn is Lane Cervinia Calzetteria and I used size 1 DPNs. I just used a K2P2 stitch pattern. I like to knit socks with that stitch pattern because it is easy to remember and is pretty forgiving in size. Since they are socks I'm not to worried that they are so different in shade. Not many people will seeing them on my feet anyway!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow, Finished Objects, And Being Published

The weather has been crazy here in Seattle. We had about 3-5 inches of snow at my house on Saturday night. It hasn't gotten above freezing since. I didn't leave the house yesterday because I kept reading about bad roads on the Internet. My street is one big ice rink.

But since I wasn't prepared for the snow or freezing conditions, I didn't have much food in my house. I did learn this morning that depending on the coffee, not having 1/2 and 1/2 isn't a crisis. I drink Cafe Ladro coffee. I love their Fremont roast (and they make a great Latte' if you ever one want one). It wasn't awful, it was pretty good, but I like my 1/2 and 1/2 and food. Did I say I didn't have much food in my house?

So I just ventured out to the grocery store. I made it back safe and sound but had to park on the street now instead of in my garage because it is impossible for me to get up the driveway. Hopefully, I won't get side-swiped or run into by crazies driving down the road. Did I say how icey it is on my road? I think I might have been one of the crazies driving down the road. But I took it nice and slow and didn't run into anything.

Staying home all day yesterday, I was able to get a bit of Xmas knitting done. I finished weaving in the ends of my machine knit wash clothes that I'll be giving with a bar of handmade soap I picked up at Urban Craft Uprising.

I also knitted a Button-Tab Hat for my brother's new girlfriend. I think it is super cute. Hope she likes it.

Now for totally unrelated knitting news, but something I was surprised and excited to see today was a link to a book I helped write 10 years ago when I worked for IBM. I didn't know it had been made available outside of IBM. It is called Data Modeling Techniques For Data Warehousing. I know totally boring! But it is my claim to fame, so I'm going with it. ;)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Cookie Exchange

Tonight instead of meeting at our usual Starbucks, a lot of the women in my knitting group got together at my friend Erica's house to knit and exchange cookies.

Last night I made over 10 dozen Toffee Squares. And this is what I got in return. 20+ different kinds of cookies:

Outrageous. Between all of us there was over 2400 cookies!

Shawna was an overachiever and made an assortment of cookies:

I don't know how she did it. She has her hands full with her lovely daughter, Bella, who is such an angel:

And for my final picture of the evening. I present Erica's wall-o-yarn:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Toffee Squares

Tomorrow evening I'm getting together with some of the women from my knitting group for a cookie exchange. I was hard pressed to come up with a recipe, especially since I don't eat sugar anymore. I had thought about making some sugar-free version with Splenda but I just didn't find something I liked right away in my search on the Internet. I did find a Lemon Bar recipe that I want to make sometime since Lemon Bars are my favorite and I haven't had any in years since I gave up sugar. :(

Anyway, when the ex left she left her Betty Crocker Cooky Book. This book is older then me, printed in 1963.

It has some great recipes in it for all kinds of cookies. I wanted something that would be easy and wouldn't require me to form or mold individual cookies. The Toffee Square recipe was perfect.

Because I bought the butter required for the recipe an hour or so before I started prep, I looked online for a quick way to soften butter. Several places suggested cutting small slices so that the individual pieces would soften quicker. The trick worked although it does look like a lot of butter huh?

This is what the pre-cooked crust looks like once the egg yolks, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla are mixed with the flour and salt and spread on a cookie sheet.

The recipe calls for chocolate bars so I splurged (they were on sale too) for Ghiradelli. When I opened the packaged and caught the smell of the chocolate I almost couldn't resist eating some. I didn't and all the chocolate was used for the Toffee Squares.

Here is the crust after it came out of the oven.

It was fun putting the chocolate squares on the crust and watching them slowly melt across it.

Here it is with all that chocolate goodness spread across the top.

Then I sprinkled almonds pieces that I crushed across the top.

And here they are cut into squares.

I ended up making three batches since there will be between 16 and 20 people coming to the cookie exchange. I need 1/2 dozen for each person.

I hope everyone likes them!