Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Part II...and Part III of Bachelor Mother

Ooops! Sorry about that.

And a comment: I listened after I made the first post. It doesn't compare well to the Lux broadcasts, especially script-wise. The movie is far better and much funnier.

Still, it's a nice little diversion. I hope you enjoy[ed] it.

Happy New Year!

Here's a radio version of Bachelor Mother (1939) starring Ginger Rogers and David Niven originally.


It's one of my favorite holiday movies, it covers the whole week and even shows Times Square on NYE!

Oh, and here's something to listen to while you're having that hangover--I mean, Champagne--brunch tomorrow afternoon:

Listing Times
Direct Link on LoudCity

This is one of--no, the best--online source of vintage jazz I know. The live broadcast takes place tonight, but it will repeat tomorrow. Check the first Dismuke link for worldwide programming times.

Happy New Year!!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Loot

Do my friends know me?

Are they wonderful?


Many, many thanks to Sue, "Ann Gibson", and Rae and Scott.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On the 4th Day of Christmas...

...I'll give you another recipe.

This is my favorite "new" recipe of 2010.

The original is from a September 1930 issue of Women's Home Companion, for candied grapefruit peel.

I've made this so frequently since first trying it on Halloween night that I've done a little tinkering. If you've tried to candy peel before and failed, or you never have tried and would like to, this is the recipe for you.

Candied Grapefruit Peel*

2 1/2 c. sliced peel, trimmed of excess pith (white portion)[~3 halves]
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. grapefruit juice
granulated sugar

Cut peel into strips and boil in lightly salted water for 20 minutes (time from when water comes to a boil). Repeat twice, for a total of three 20 minute boils. Drain well each time, and use fresh water for subsequent boiling.

Combine sugar, water, and grapefruit juice into a clean medium sized saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.

Add peel, bring to the boiling point (stirring as little as possible) and cook to 230 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Drain immediately. It will cool quickly. As soon as it is cool enough to handle (in five minutes or so), lay the strips out on a cooling rack. When completely cool to the touch, roll in granulated sugar and leave to dry overnight.

Store in a container with a tight lid; I layer the pieces of peel in more sugar. This will keep for weeks, but can be stored in the freezer if you prefer.

*Orange and tangerine also work very well. Lemon is not recommended.

CAVEATS, etc., etc.

1. Buy a candy thermometer. They are not expensive!
2. Follow the directions. You don't need to hang out in the kitchen the whole time. Set the timer for the three boils.
3. Drain immediately. If you leave the peel in syrup it will become stiff and hard and won't taste of much but sugar.
4. DO leave to dry overnight. If it's put away too damp, it will mold, even after having been candied and rolled in more sugar. Sugar is a preservative, but it's not a miracle worker.

5. Enjoy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Knitting 2010

I have photos of most of it. This is the tea cozy I made for DH. It's based on an online pattern but the color work is my contribution. It's specially made for the Danish teapot from the 30s, made of pewter, which he uses nearly every morning.

These are the boot socks I made for him. They're from a 40s pattern I've used before; in fact, I made a solid cream colored pair for a friend of ours, too.

This is the Wurstwaermer dog sweater. (You can purchase the pattern on Ravelry. It's about $3.00 and the profits go to a shelter in Michigan.)
The friends who have the dog for whom it was made told us that as soon as they put it on her, she curled up and went to sleep, happy as could be. So those of you who have doxies, or doxie mixes, it's dog-approved!

This is a Kindle cozy, for the latest version. I made it for my mother's new Kindle. The yarn is cone yarn from the stash, and the button is a hand-carved wooden button, Art Deco in period. This is my own pattern.

I also made the large Cozy for my MiL, and a neck warmer from burgundy homespun for a friend, but I don't have a photo of the neck warmer. I forgot to take one before wrapping it, and we didn't have our camera when she unwrapped it.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and Boxing Day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve and plum pudding for all

I have been busy! Let's are the cookies I made:

almond spritz
hazelnut chocolate spritz
fruit & nut bars
cranberry brownies
lavender shortbread
chocolate cocoanut kisses
cream cheese cinnamon
Christmas hermits
peanut butter Kiss

...and candied peel (lemon, tangerine, orange & grapefruit), mince pies, and plum puddings too.

Today I'll be making a liverwurst and cream cheese roll and a cheese ball for tomorrow's open house, and that's all, folks! (Except for making our brunch tomorrow.)

Here's a little plum pudding action, Part I:

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Cookies and boxes and knitting. Oh, my.

I'm getting there. The last boxes of Christmas gifts and cookies are packed up and ready to go. It's hard to believe I've already sent some out!

But now the cookie stocks are seriously depleted, and surprise! I think I need to bake some more. Well, I want to.

Thus far I have made noels, fruit and nut bars, Christmas hermits, cranberry brownies, peanut butter Kiss cookies, lavender shortbread and almond spritz cookies.

Now that I have a feel for the cookie press, I'm going to make some more. They look so professional, and besides...they make me think of my grandmother. She wasn't a cuddly, stereotypical grandmother, but she had a cookie press (my sister has it) and she used it.

More gift knitting--nearly all of it--is done, and even wrapped. I'll be glad when I can post some photos here. At least this time I've remembered to take pictures before wrapping them up.

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Holiday Bonus

[This post owes its existance to Kate, whom I know from Knitty. Thanks!]

Holiday bonus...maybe this is a bit shallow, but for me the holiday season is a time when my talents--knitting, cooking, baking, singing--feel less like indulgence than something positive.

Mind, I don't sing professionally anymore. But we went to a Lessons and Carols service on Sunday, and in singing there it felt as though I was contributing to the happiness of the occasion and the people around me.

There are times, and plenty of them, when I feel guilty for knitting, or baking or (fill in 'hobby' here) during the daytime. This feeling has certainly intensified since I have been unemployed.

But in preparing for the holidays I am creating gifts for the people I like and love. These actions (or recreations) are producing something that will, I hope, make those people happy. And at least in the knitting, I am saving us some money. I have a very large stash of yarn. And vintage buttons. Very little has been spent on buying the raw materials for the gifts I have made this year.

So, in preparing for the holidays I get a bonus. The joy of giving, coupled with a kind of validation, give me a lift beyond the beauty of Christmas and the New Year.