Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

Not all of these are knitting-related.

1. I will finish my cross-stitch UFO. It has been sitting there for 7 years, that's enough.

2. I will try Fair Isle knitting. This one is left over from last year. What can I say, I'm a coward when it comes to colorwork.

3. Start holiday gifts in time to actually finish.

4. Knit more socks.

5. Knit a lace garment that has shaping in the lace part, not just the stockinette section.

6. Learn to crochet properly. By that, I mean learn to crochet something other than a dishcloth.

7. Get in shape. Not moving makes my inflammatory arthritis worse. Also, I need to get in shape so I can

8. do the breast cancer walk. It's in May, so I better get cracking.

9. Stop being a coward when it comes to applying for jobs. I mean, why?

10. Eat healthy. Junk food makes the hormones unhappy. Unhappy hormones make me unhappy. It's not a good thing.

And here's one that needs to get done before the New Year: Finish at least one of my knitting UFOs! 2 of them need assembling. At least one of them should be finishable by tomorrow!

Happy New Year, and I'll post pictures of the new FO if I succeed with that last bit!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Egg Nog!

Today, I've been feeling well enough to make Egg Nog. The end product is most yummy and not Salmonella-inducing, as the eggs are cooked for a good 7 minutes or so. Also, milk can be substituted for the alcohol if kids are present -- or if you just don't drink alcohol.

Here's a picture of the ingredients:

Heat 3 cups of whole milk in a heavy saucepan until it's just barely boiling. In the meantime, whisk together 7 eggs and 3/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl. The recipe says to then pour the milk into the eggs, but if you do that, you're likely to get scrambled eggs and milk, yuck.
So instead, I carefully whisk in milk by the 1/4 cup, pouring slowly with a cup measure and whisking vigorously all the while. The slow rise in temperature keeps things from curdling. No scrambled egg nog, yay!
After the first 3/4 cup or whole cup of milk whisked into the eggs, you can slowly pour in the rest of the milk -- while whisking!

Then, pour the milk/egg/sugar mixture back into the pot and cook on medium low until a thermometer registers 170 degrees (F, not Centigrade!). Pour custard-like mixture into a clean bowl. The recipe says to pour through a fine-meshed sieve, but I've never had to do that. It turns out perfectly smooth every time.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 cups of heavy cream, 1/4 cup cognac and 1/4 cup of bourbon or brandy. The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup of both kinds of liquor, for a total of 2/3 of a cup of booze. I like to taste something besides booze. And I don't want to end up under the table after just 1 glass of egg nog!

Here's what the end result looks like:


Let cool on the counter, then cover and refrigerate. It tastes even better the next day, after the booze has had some time to mellow.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas cold

My nose is stuffed up, my ears are stuffed up, and my voice went away. Guess who won't be singing in the choir for Christmas? I know it's the intent that counts, but I just don't see myself croaking out a festive tune.

The blanket is 3/8 done. My sister's sweater is still unseamed. Samantha's hem still needs hemming. But tomorrow, I'm going to get cracking.
Also coming up: pictures of me making egg nog. Yum, egg nog!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Blankie & Christmas Tree

Because this is a knitting blog, I'll start with the blankie. As you can see, there's no way it's getting done by Christmas. Like all lace, it looks awful on the needles, but I like the way it's coming out -- and I'm surprised by the softness of the new WoolEase Bulky. This year's WoolEase is so much softer than last year's. The advances in acrylic are amazing. It's no longer yucky!

Pattern info: Leaf Lace Throw by Fibertrends
Yarn: WoolEase Bulky in Fisherman (why did they call an off-white Fisherman? Who knows!)

And this week, we're doing Christmas decorations for blog stalking. Here's our Christmas tree in all its glory. Mr. Batty had to put up the angel because I tried, and she looked all crooked, like she'd consumed the entire bowl of egg nog all by herself.

Here's a closeup of some of my favorite ornaments. Yes, that's an orange bat ornament on the left. Did you honestly think I had no bat ornaments? Slightly to the right is the cup with the 2 mice cuddling -- it's the Christmas ornament the ladies' group at our last church gave us before we got married. To the right of that, not all that visible, is an ornament with two manatees. I love manatees, they look like big, snuggly cuddlecritters. Even though they're wet. It's the faces, they're the cutest.

And here's a closeup of my purple bat ornament. It has another bat that holds the bow together, some black fluff, and two black roses hanging off the ribbon.

Have a happy, batty Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza/Pagan holiday of choice/Festivus, everyone!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gargamel Feet

What does Gargamel wear when he goes smurf-hunting?

Fuzzy Feet!

These are Fuzzy Feet, knit in some color of Cascade 220 on US11 needles. They also have suede soles, but I'm not taking pictures of those because they're embarrassing. Do you have any idea how hard it is to attach a 2-part sole to medieval footwear? It's hard.

My sweetie likes his new slippers, they're warm and the soles make them non-slippery. He does, however, make smurf-hunting jokes. For a good reason, even the color is pretty darn accurate (if a little dark).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Blog-stalking questionnaire

NAME: Batty
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Both!
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? We just put them under the tree, unless they get wrapped at the store. But we try to keep the environment happy, so we minimize our packaging material consumption as much as possible.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I like them both. White is more festive, colored is more joyful.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope.
5. When do you put your decorations up? It takes me a while to take down the Halloween bats. Halloween stuff is all over the house, and this year, it's lingering. As soon as we manage to put it away, the Christmas stuff goes up.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? No fair excluding dessert! It's the best part of every meal!
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Baking cookies with my mother. I love cookies, I love my mother, and I love watching the snow. It was perfect.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember when I learned the truth, but I do remember one department store having a particularly good Santa. He told me I'd been good in general, but that there was a problem with the mess in my room. You know, with one shoe under the bed, the other in my closet. I was in awe. He had to be real. How else could he know about the shoes?
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We open them Christmas day.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? We don't have too many ornaments yet, but we try to get a new one every year. My favorite is a cup with two mice hugging that says 'first Christmas' on it. The ladies from our church's evening group threw me a surprise bridal shower after choir practice one day, and they gave me this ornament. It was such a sweet gesture.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love to cuddle and watch the snow. Hate driving to work when it's coming down!
12. Can you ice skate? No. I've tried, but... no.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? We weren't big into gifts. But probably something Barbie.
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Turning inward in expectation of something joyful. Our family doesn't go nuts over gifts, so there's no pushing, rushing, or desperately trying to meet deadlines (except for the blanket I'm knitting for my in-laws...). The religious background is extremely important to me, as is an opportunity to spend time with my family.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Cheesecake! This year, I'm probably making pumpkin cheesecake instead of pumpkin pie.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? We leave our decorations up until Orthodox Christmas in January. One of the benefits of being a 2 denomination household!
17. What tops your tree? An angel that is notoriously difficult to get onto the tree.
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Giving. What a wonderful excuse to knit for people!
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? The first noel, though the lyrics crack me up every time. Which is bad, because I'm in the church choir.
20. Candy Canes...
Yuck! I don't like mint too much, and chocolate and mint is even worse.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Putting it all together

Tonight, I'm putting together my sister's birthday sweater. Pictures coming up!

Tomorrow, I'm frogging the mistake in the lace blanket for my father in law and his wife. Pictures of that, sad as it is, also coming up. 23 days till Christmas. About 10 days till it has to be mailed out. Am I insane?

Then, I'm going to finish that baby sweater. I swear, if I don't do it soon, the kid's going to be graduating college before it's done!