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Monday, December 27, 2010

WHEW!!!!

As it's been some time, I might as well try to explain myself (aka make excuses) for my neglectful posting. I was preparing for the holidays which always seems to get me all flustered. Cleaning, shopping, mailing cards and making foods and gifts sure does take time!

First, there was the baking of cookies and the business of making candies. The cookies this year were scaled back a bit. I made some vegan sugar cookies, vegan chocolate chippers and these Vegan Caramel Pecan Bars which were very good and very sweet. One of these is enough to satisfy the biggest sweet tooth! They were also the easiest to make.

I tried my hand at some candies. First I made some yummy Rock Candy or Glass Candy.

It seems to go by both names. I used vegan granulated sugar and the only other ingredients are water, corn syrup, food coloring and flavoring oil. I made red cinnamon flavor and green spearmint flavor. I remember this candy fondly from my childhood; my grandmother always had it during the holidays. I thought she made it herself but my mom thinks she bought it from someone every year. Either way, it was relatively easy to make and yummy and I now have some very fresh breath.

The vegan gumdrops...not so happy an ending here. There was a recipe for gumdrops in a recent Better Homes and Gardens mag that seemed pretty close to vegan. I tried to make the coconut flavored gumdrops but my vegan fruit pectin I bought at Whole Foods came packaged a bit differently from the pectin the recipe was intended for and alas, I don't think I used enough pectin. It turned out like coconut flavored jam which really is sort of a weird thing. I ended up throwing it away but have lots of toasted coconut sugar on hand (which is what you roll the gumdrops in after they firm up and you cut them into little squares). I will let you know what I use it for...unless anyone out there has some suggestions? Seriously, I would love some.

There was some knitting. Three Interchangeable Hats (aka Poppy) for three lovely nieces.
Last year, I made one for one niece as I had her name in the big gift exchange we do for all the children in Nature Boy's family. Apparently, her sister has been stealing said hat and stretching it out. Since Nature Boy and I had the other two remaining nieces for the exchange, I went ahead and made three to cover all the nieces. Don't worry, they don't just get a knitted hat for the gift exchange, they get some cool presents too, these are just in addition to...

I also managed to knit up a sweater for a certain wee one who will be arriving in Hawaii close to the time Wee Too shows up here!
The pattern is the same as the sweater I made for Wee Too recently. I also knit up a Greenleaf hat to match.
After the baby shower, as I was driving home, it struck me a babe in Hawaii may not require sweaters and hats. I guess it's the thought, right?

Finally I made up some earrings and a ring out of some vintage buttons for my mom and one of my sisters. I also began another project but alas, it was not finished in time. I will detail more on this one another day.


Lastly, on my recent birthday, I think I got a strong message from the universe I am still trying to sort out. I was given a card with owls on it from Nature Boy in the morning. A package arrived from my sister with a birthday gift that was wrapped in owl paper she had made. At the night's end, as we were sitting on el coucho, Nature Boy tapped my hand and spoke softly to me that there was an owl outside on the pole. As I looked, I couldn't believe my eyes. There was a small Eastern Screech Owl sitting ON OUR PORCH!!! IN THE MIDDLE OF PITTSBURGH!!! Looking right in the window at us!
We watched the owl for an hour at least, then finally had to head to bed. The owl did not leave but when I awoke at 3AM as usual, I came down and looked and the owl was gone. I have heard owls outside as a girl but have never seen one outside in the wild. It was truly an amazing birthday, one I will never forget!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday (whatever you choose to call it or however you celebrate it). Peace, love and joy to everyone out there!

3 comments:

Heather said...

Wow! You have been busy. Isn't life crazy? And a wee addition for you? So blessed. I tried my hand at hard candy this year. My grandmother used to make it. Trying to recreate a childhood memory is never wise. But I am going to pursue it nevertheless. What did you boil it up to? Mine remained a little too sticky, didn't break apart like I think it should. Or, is spreading it thin a key? hmm.advise?

Happy New Year!

affectioknit said...

The sweater and hats are adorable! Happy Birthday!

Crafter, Baker, Mother said...

you are so creative!
I LOve the sweater and hat set, very cute!
and the three hats are adorable!