Friday, January 16, 2009

Frogging Friday - Talia

HUGE ass Talia

  • frogging_friday_button

  • Started: July 2008
    Frogged: January 15th, 2009
    The Proof: DSC04391

    Okay, so here's the story with what has come to be known as the Great Talia Cock Up.

    I wanted to knit this vest because it seemed like a fun and still easy enough first sweater-like-object kind of project. The yarn that I wanted to knit it in was a chunky, super soft yarn known as Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky. The sheen was what drew me, that and the skwooshiness of it. It told me that the vest would look stunning knit up in all it's fine, nommable glory, and I agreed. So, I did a swatch - and that's what I believe was my fatal mistake. I actually, for the first time ever, knit a swatch and fiddled around with it until I got the needle size that would bring me to guage - a feat which I achieved on the second knit of the swatch. So, armed with the knowledge of my perfect guage I set out to make this epically beautiful vest which wound up being epically HUGE.

    As you can see from the picture at the top of the page, it is large enough for both me and my SIL to stick our heads through the armholes like they were windows. It is large enough for both me and my SIL to wrap it around us and wear it together, at the same time. In fact, it was so HUGE, really, that it was obvious that it would only do as a Siamese Twins Costume for Halloween. I was so disgusted that I stuffed it in a tote and hid that tote so that I couldn't look at it even if I wanted to!

    Originally, I was going to see if maybe I could fix the straps - because that's where both myself and my SIL believed the error to be. Then I decided that I'd rather re-knit the Talia vest in the yarn and needle size that the pattern actually calls for and instead, recycle this yarn for something else. Thus, the frogging.

    It took a lot of work - especially since I tried to frog it backwards at first, but eventually I wound up with quite a few balls of recyclable, knittable yarn. And thankfully, this yarn seems to have bounced back quite nicely...despite the fact that it has been knit up for quite a while!

    I plan on using the yarn to make a pair of these, and a hat or scarf (depending on how much yarn is left over - I might even make both!), to go with them! Aren't they pretty?

    So yeah, I haven't been doing all that much actual knitting...but at least I've been doing some preparation. That counts for something, right?

    Also, in other news, I've recently hopped onto a new bandwagon. The Toy Society is just such a great idea to me! I mean, how often can we really say that we get to give happiness to a stranger? Not that often for me, really...but I'd like to start.


    And once he's finished, that guy's going to be my first drop. Think he'll make somebody happy? I hope so!

    If you want to get in on it, then drop the folks at the toy society an e-mail (the address is on the blog itself) and you'll find them to be exceptionally friendly and quite happy to have you play along!

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    So, knitting has been kind of a no-go for the last little while. I think maybe I got temporarily burnt out during the last minute December rush of Xmas knitting. Never fear though...because even as I speak I can feel the urge to knit itching away at my fingertips. I'll probably actually finish one of my UFO's!

    So instead of FO pics and stuff, here's a recipe.

    "Crab" Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Caps

    You'll need:

    5 large portabella mushroom caps
    3/4 lb. of fake crab meat - hand shredded (I basically just smooshed it through my fingers)
    1/2 of a large red onion - chopped
    1 tbsp. of dried parsely
    1/2 tbsp. of dried oregano
    1/2 tbsp. of dried chives
    3/4 cup mayonnaise
    1 large egg
    4 slices fresh white bread (do not substitute)- torn into small pieces
    1 red pepper - roasted*, peeled and chopped
    2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
    1 tsp. paprika
    1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs (more or less as needed)
    1/4 cup powdery parmesan cheese (the kind you can buy in the little plastic can to put on spaghetti)
    6 tbsp. shredded parmesan cheese (such as Sargento's or whatever type you like. You can even buy a brick of parm and grate it yourself if you like)


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. Clean four of the caps off with a damp paper towel, trim off any excess stem and place flat side down on the sheet. (You want the part where the stem is facing upwards like a sort of cup.)
    3. Take the fifth cap and chop it up finely and put in a large mixing bowl and combine well with the rest of your ingredients except for the shredded parm.
    4. Heap the caps on the baking sheet with the stuffing mixture (I used an ice cream scoop and put roughly two and a half scoops on each cap), and use a rubber spatula to pat down slightly to flatten just a bit into a "cake".
    5. Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle each each mushroom with 1 1/2 tbsp. of the grated parmesan cheese. Return to the oven and bake for an additional seven minutes - or until the cheese is melted and starts turning a light golden color.
    6. Serve hot with garlic mashed red bliss potatoes and enjoy!

    * When I use roasted red peppers in any dish, I usually make my own. And this is how I do it.

    1. Trim off any excess stem from the top of the pepper.

    2. Turn a front burner of your stove on medium-high and sit the pepper directly on the grate. Hold in place with long metal tongs, and keep there until the bottom is fully blackened.

    3. Once the bottom is blackened, sit the pepper on it's side and let blacken as well, turning as you go so all sides are completely blackened - including the top. (If you have to, pick the pepper up and apply sections that aren't blackening properly directly to the flame in between the grate).

    4. Once finished blackening the pepper, either put in a tightly fitting tupperware container and cover with the proper lid, or wrap in aluminum foil ( I prefer to do it this way) and let sit for at least an hour. This allows the steam coming from the roasted pepper to loosen the blackened skin and makes for easy peeling.

    5. After at least an hour has past, remove from the foil and peel the blackened skin from the pepper. If a little of the blackened stuff remains (and you will still have flecks of it on the pepper no matter what you do), that's fine, but if it's too much for your liking, wipe additionally with a moist paper towel.

    6.Cut just the green stem part of the pepper away from the flesh and discard, then split down the center and lay out as flat as possible. Strip the bitter white parts from the flesh and wipe any seeds away with a moist paper towel.

    You can do this up to four days in advance, but I prefer to do it the day of whatever dish I'm preparing that requires it. If you're going to do it early, just store in the refrigerator in a small, airtight container drizzled with a little olive oil. Blot the oil away from the pepper prior to using. Also, it will only keep for four to five days in the fridge.

    Now, this method only works if you have a gas stove. If you have an electric one, you can roast your pepper in the oven but it takes a lot longer. In that case, I'd just buy a small jar, and use up the entire jar for this stuffed mushroom recipe.

    Also, just thought I'd end this post off with some puppy cuteness!

    Thursday, January 1, 2009

    Happy NEW YEARZ!!!!

    Welcome to 2009 everybody! I hope that everyone had a safe and sane (to quote my dear, darling Betty) New Year's Eve, and I hope that everyone's hangovers were spent in a quiet environment the day after!

    I thought I'd kick this post off with a little Meme of my own making!

    So here we go:

    5 Things that 2008 Drilled Into My Skull

    *1. Being lucky in life all year long means that something is going to kick you in the ass at the end of the year and seriously make you lose all sense of cheer, very quickly!

    *2. Apparently, my fingers and toes are not, in fact, body parts but playthings for a puppy!

    *3. It is possible to knit eight Christmas gifts the week before the Holiday!

    *4. Family will always be your saving grace - no matter what.

    *5. Being a happy housewife is hard work, but rewarding!

    Feel free to do this, if you like! :) I know some of you guys like to do Memes!

    And going back to #1 on that list, what I thought was going to be a really shitty Xmas, turned out to be a surprisingly pleasant one! DW managed to find a way to surprise me with not one, but four gifts (two of them really BIG ones!).

    The first one, as all my Plurk friends know by now, is my fabulous Sunbeam Mixmaster Heritage Series stand up mixer! I have to say that I was thrilled to see this under all the pretty wrapping paper that DW attractively arranged around the box!


    Here it is in all it's glory. Not a Kitchen Aid, but I'm no appliance snob and this one came with a 4.6 quart bowl, a spinning turntable, V-groove beaters, dough hooks and has a little switch that you can push to move the bowl from side to side. Plus, it has 12 Speeds! The only think I'm missing is the whisk attachment, but I know where I can buy them, and a paddle. However, I find that the paddle isn't really a necessity. I've already put this mixer into action several times, which excites DW to no boundaries!

    First, I used it to whip up some icing for the meltaways I had to make for Christmas. I forgot to take pictures...but I'm sure I'll be making them again in the future and will endeavor to remember to do so then! And then I used it to whip up Peanut Butter Blossom dough.


    They came out perfectly! The cookies were tender with a slight crispy-chewy thing going on, and I made them right this time! I remembered to put the kiss in the middle AFTER they'd been baked (doing this before they go in the oven results in a nummy cookie, but a rock hard Hershey's Kiss with a very burnt flavor - trust me, I know these things). If you decide to make them, be warned. You have to wait until they cool COMPLETELY before you put them in a storage container. When you put the kiss in the cookie, the kiss melts. Doesn't lose it's shape, but it does melt. When it's completely cooled, the kiss will be solid again. It's almost like magic! :)

    Then I decided that if I was making those, I might as well make some whoopie pies too!


    That's the filling for the pies. This mixer is the best, because before I was hand blending the filling with a wooden spoon, and now all that stress on my arms and hands is over thanks to my nifty stand up! And it makes the fluffiest frosting ever!


    That's what they look like when they're finished. And believe me, they're dangerous. Mostly because they're addicting. And despite the fact that a lot of people are making resolutions to lose weight (me included...*shame faced*) I've decided to include the recipe for these wonderful confections. They're great to make for parties too! You can double the recipe easily, or you can make the cake parts smaller for more bite sized pies! :) It was passed down to me by my wonderful MIL Debbie Helme A.K.A. ScottishNana, and trust me, they're incredibly popular!

    Whoopie Pies

    For the frosting:

    1c Crisco
    2c Confectioner’s Sugar
    2c Fluff
    4 tbsp. Milk
    1 tsp. vanilla

    Beat together until mixture is light and fluffy.

    For the Cake

    ½c Vegetable Oil
    1c White Sugar
    ½c Cocoa
    1c Milk
    1 Egg
    2c Flour
    ½tsp. Baking Soda
    ½tsp. Baking Powder
    ½tsp. Salt
    1tsp. Vanilla

    Mix all ingredients together and drop in 1tbsp rounds on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 7 minutes. Cool. Pipe frosting on one part of the “pie” and then put the other part of the “pie” on top and enjoy!

    I know, this is not a fat-free recipe, but they're delicious! And since this is my last week to eat whatever I want (I'm saying this merely because I have too much junk in my house and want to eat it all up before I go shopping for healthy stuff...don't wanna waste money after all!), I'm doing it up proper!

    My second BIG present was a new family member! If you haven't met her yet, meet Holly!

    Oh, HAI!!!

    Oh, hai!!!!
    I haz a kyoot.


    I iz an angel!!!

    Getting those pictures was really, really hard being as she's barely eight weeks old, she has a hard time sitting still. Also, she is a plastic magnet. I don't know how, or why, but I have had to remove vast amounts of tape from her jaws as she seems to like to chew it. And, she appreciates the internetz as everytime I'm sitting at this thing she doggie-meows at me until I put her on the desk...where she will rest her head on my arm and she'll watch me type. Sometimes, she'll put her paw on the keyboard and try to type too! She's a goofball!

    Also, my hand made gift baskets were a HUGE success, and everyone was completely impressed with my mad baking skillz...especially the marshmallows. For something so easy to make, they really impressed everyone - including my grandpa (the baking KING of the family). He has to master everything sugar-related, so I of course shared the recipe with him because he was kind enough to share his PB&J sandwich cookies with me!

    Also, the handknits that I gave out were well-appreciated!


    That's my younger brother Derek, wearing the hat I knit for him. He loved it, and as you can see it fits him perfectly!


    That handsome fella is my mother's main squeeze, Michael, and he really, really liked his mitts. Said they were perfect for keeping his hands warm while he worked outside. And he liked the color and /feel/ of the yarn. Impressive, isn't he, that he'd worry about the /feel/ of the yarn! What a guy!

    And then finally, my mom!


    She was thrilled with the neckwarmer. Totally thrilled and couldn't wait to try it on under her new black coat. Also, she wore it around the house for a while too. Unfortunately, my camera sucks and was unable to capture the way she really looks...and this picture is horribly unflattering. The lighting in the room sucked too.

    Now...onto the typical portion of my first post of 2009. Resolutions! I have them divided into knitting and miscelaneous!

    First, we'll go into knitting!

    My Knitting Resolutions for 2009

    1. To try and remain faithful to one project at a time so that I may efficiently produce more FO's.

    2. To knit when I feel the urge to snack due to boredom!

    3. To try to learn one new technique a month (ie: stranded colorwork, or toe-up sock knitting!)

    4. Try to blog more regularly (not exactly knitting but still related to knitting being as this is mostly a knit-blog!)

    Easy, right?

    Now onto the hard stuff!

    Miscellaneous Resolutions for 2009

    1. To uphold a weight loss goal of losing 1 lb. per week, and once I've lost 35 lbs., to maintain that weight!

    2. Eat healthier! - No more late night junk food binges, and no more excessive unhealthy snacking. Treats occasionally are okay, but not every day!

    3. Get active again! - Start taking the doggies for walks, get into the Yogalates again, and look up some belly dancing classes and other types of excercise that are fun!

    4. Find a job. - Not something full time, just part time. Something that will get me out of the house and help with the bills and such so DW doesn't have to work so much!

    5. Keep positive about life! - For every negative that happens, find something positive about that negative. It's hard, but it'll help keep me from being depressed.

    6. Find a therapist. - Just for me. I need someone to talk to that can remain unbiased about what I say and feel. Just someone that could help me with my depression and anxiety issues. My worrying tendencies too!

    7. Quit that stinkin' thinking! - In other words, don't worry so much! I'm the type of person that even if things are going extremely well...I'll dig and dig until I have something to worry about. Or I'll make up reasons. It drives DW crazy, and me even crazier!

    And well, that's all folks!

    See ya either later on in the week or next week!