Happy Halloween!

Halloween is here and as usual I am awake before anyone else.  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays since I’ve had kids.  They are so into dressing up, going to trick-or-treat, and just having fun.  Last night the 15yo and I (it was her idea – she found the recipes somewhere, forwarded them to me, and I bought the ingredients) made treats for tonight for the friends who will be coming before and after trick-or-treat.

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Frankensteins.

We made these cuties first.

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Bats

Then these.  The hardest part was getting the oreo cookie to snap at the half way mark.  Mine never did, but she was able to get most of hers to be half and half.

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Oreo Creations

This one is where we ran into trouble.  The directions said to stick a lollipop stick into the creme center and then dip into the melted chocolate.  Well…the lollipop sticks separated the cookies (I thought we had thin ones) and even when we squished them back together, the fell off the stick into the chocolate.  We abandoned the stick idea and just did our own thing.  They are not lollipops but the are cute!

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Witch’s Fingers

These were really easy and fun!

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Cupcake Spiders.

These are supposed to be spiders.  I could not find black licorice strings anywhere – I waited too long (not to self-buy early next year!) – we tried red ones that we were cutting, but gave up and made legless spider cupcakes.  I’m sure they will taste good :o)

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Zombie Brains

These were also fun to make.

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Decorating the Zombie Brains

My daughter putting on the brains.

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Closeup of the Zombie Brains

I got to add the “blood”.

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Mummies

I think we have a nice array of goodies for friends who stop by and hang out with us tonight.

Bake-A-Long

Tracy over at It’s a T-Sweets day hosts a Bake-A-Long that looks pretty fun.  This is the first time that I have taken part of it.

Tina from Kristabella’s Hodgepodge is where the latest recipe has come from:  Chili/Chocolate Bread.  This bread is simply delicious!!  AND…there is no way that you can muck up the recipe – ask me how I know this…I will tell you!

I have now made this bread three times trying to get it right.  Now, there is nothing wrong with the recipe – it is clearly written and easy to follow.  Everything is laid out there for you perfectly.  It came down to my lack of experience using my own bread maker.  Haha!!  I have made bread in the bread maker for about 26 years now (it was a gift from my new husband to me!), but have never done any add ins.  Hmm…how hard could it be??  Well… on the first try…

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Insides of first try.

it didn’t rise and the chocolate was totally melted in the middle all in one lump.  It turns out that I had killed the yeast by using cold milk AND because I was in a hurry, I added the chocolate chips right at the beginning.  The bread looks a little strange, but it tasted delicious!  Especially toasted with butter, YUM, YUM!

Ok, on to the second try…IMG_1452

See how the chocolate chips are just stuck on the top and burned onto the bottom?  Well, apparently, if you add the chips in AFTER kneading is completely finished, they won’t be mixed in – go figure.  In my defense, I needed to walk the dog and while out walking the dog I ran into several people that I just HAD to talk with.  I got home and erroneously assumed that the machine still had the second kneading left to go.  Nope – wrong!  This bread also tasted delicious (once the burned part was cut off).

Now I was not going to be bested by a bread machine!  On to the third try…

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3rd time is a charm.

It’s perfect!  The chocolate is all mixed in (although the top did sink a little – why is that?)!!  I made this while I was at home.  That’s right, I stayed home the entire time this was cooking and I heard the little beeps telling me to put the chocolate chips in and I did put them in at the correct time.  Fancy following directions and using the machine the right way!  This loaf is also delicious!  This recipe is so easy and obviously, you really can’t go wrong with it.

SAL update

I’m very happy about where I am on my SAL project!  I didn’t spend as much time as I had hoped, but I made a bit of progress and all of it in color!

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10/29 update.

I am really starting to get excited about this project.

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10/29 closeup update.

This picture looks a bit strange…I’m not sure why.  Anyway, there is no way I’ll finish by this Christmas but that’s ok.

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Progress!!

This is where I was last time we posted.  This SAL is sooooo much fun!

This SAL is different than most.  Most SALs everyone in the group stitches the same project at the same time.  This one is so exciting because each person in the group is stitching a different project – something they want to finish – and every three weeks we post progress on that specific project.  I truly love seeing what everyone else in the group is working on and what progress they have made.  This group has inspired me very much!  If you have a chance, take a look at the blogs of the other people participating in this SAL (you will not be disappointed):

More Recycling: T-Shirt Yarn

I seem to be in a recycling mood.  In addition to bags of bags, I also have bags of out grown and worn out t-shirts from the kids as well as myself and my husband.  I have a plan for these as well…t-shirt yarn…to weave into rag rugs for in front of the kitchen sink and in the bathrooms.

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Poor Mickey!

This was one of my son’s favorite shirts and he wore it relentlessly until now it is too small for him.  I used this youtube video to learn how to turn the t-shirt into yarn easily.  The person in the video says to stay away from any shirt with stuff on the front and to also not use shirts with side seams.  I am not heeding that advice and am just using all of them.  I don’t think it really matters since these are being used for a rug.

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One continuous length of t-shirt.

After cutting off the hem, I just used the rotary cutter to cut 1″ strips and followed the rest of the directions on the video to create a length of “yarn”.IMG_1198

The left over – I wonder what I can use this for?  Any ideas?IMG_1201

Now there are four balls of t-shirt yarn.  I better get the loom warped up soon!IMG_1202

The stack of top halves has grown as well.  Hmm…I need to figure out what to do with them.

Recycling – Plastic Bags

Working on the Blue Jeans quilt where I am recycling our old jeans, has put me in the mood to do more recycling.  I hang on to “things” such as plastic bags.  I have many bags of bags (hoarding anyone?) with the intention of crocheting them into reusable shopping bags.  About a week ago I started prepping and cutting the strips and started a bag.

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The kids love this bread.

I have gobs of these bread bags, also wheat bread bags, newspaper bags, the old plastic grocery bags etc.  So…I started cutting them into strips!

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These are about 1″ strips.

I use the first knuckle on my thumb as the guide which is about an inch.

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Connected together.

Once the strip are cut, they are connected together.

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Lots connected.

Here are the strips from a couple of bags all attached together.

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Rolled up!

Rolled up into a ball.  Now, though, I don’t bother rolling the strips into balls.  I just attach to the piece I am working on and leave them all next to me and crochet them like that.

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A start.

Here is the start.  I am a bit farther along now.  It will be interesting to see how this bag turns out in the end and if it will be as useful as I am hoping.

Another Beekeeper Quilt Update

OK…so the last time I wrote about this project, I was going to think about ways to make is easier to embellish them.  The hexi puff is knit like the toe of a sock, both the front and the back grow at the same time and are connected so that when done, the hexi just needs to be stuffed and sewn up at the top.  The small opening is one of the reasons embellishing is so time consuming and challenging.  I am trying a different approach…

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Knit single sided and currently being blocked.

I decided to knit the front and the back separately.  This will make it so I have to sew them up (UGH!), but I believe that adding embroidery to them will be easier.  I found this book…

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This is a beautiful book!

and was so inspired to try out some of these on my hexis…

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People!

I’d like to do a hexi for each one!  And…

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Flowers!

And flowers!  There are pages and pages of these (and I have ideas of my own now as well).  There are also pages of birds – Oh, My!!!  This should keep me busy and out of trouble for quite awhile!

Apples

EDITED 10 Nov. 2017:  I have been honored to have been asked to share my recipe for my applesauce cake by Tracy over at It’s A T-Sweets Day.  The recipe for the cake is added to the bottom of this blog post.  Enjoy!!

We have an apple tree and so does a friend of mine.  She doesn’t use her apples so she brings them over to me.  Lately, I have found myself with a boat load of apples and we can’t eat them fast enough.  So… I made apple sauce

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Some of the apples, I also used green ones.

As you can see from the above picture, some of the apples were starting to go a little past their prime.  I cut, cored and peeled them,

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Ready to be cooked!

and placed them in a pot with some spices and cooked them up for…

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Loads of applesauce.

applesauce.  I made too much apple sauce.  We were definitely NOT going to be able to eat as much as I made before it spoiled … so I added a few ingredients and …

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Apple sauce cakes.

POOF… apple sauce cakes were made.  And then the locusts (known as my children) descended … and …IMG_1054

Poof again… only three slices left!  This is what happens when you have four teens and a young adult living at home!

Spiced Applesauce Cake

1/3 C butter; softened

1 C brown sugar

1 egg

1 C thick applesauce

1 ½ C flour

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1 t ground cinnamon

½ t ground allspice

½ t ground nutmeg

Dash salt

**Option: ½ C raisins, ¾ C chopped nuts

 

Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg and beat well. Stir in applesauce.

 

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix well.

 

**Add raisins and chopped nuts now if desired**

 

Turn batter into a greased and floured bundt pan (I use 2 round cake pans).

 

Bake at 350° until cake is done and pick inserted in center comes out clean. About 35-40 minutes.

 

Let cake rest in pan for a few minutes and then turn out onto rack.