Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another Blog

Ok, those of you who know me know I don't love to cook dinner, but my Dad discovered and purchased a 30 year-old company called Shirley J with some friends and his brother, and they have some seriously amazing products that make cooking dinner oh-so-easy.

Because of this, I've decided to start another blog, this one dedicated to cooking. This blog will help me become better at making dinner, and hopefully give some of you some dinner ideas if you are into easy dinners like I am. I will be using the Shirley J products (which are many) as well as other things in my cooking, hopefully you'll find something you'll like to try!

Here it is, come and take a look!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

S-O-C-K-S! (finished)

I once heard that if you spell "Socks" out loud, you're saying a phrase in Spanish. I think it means "That is what it is" or something. Anyway, I can never think of the word "socks" without spelling it in my mind with a spanish accent. And now--neither will you.

But I digress...

My mom and I took a sock making class earlier this year and it was loads of fun. Socks are really fun to make--but I did find one thing about sock making a bit disparaging-- when you finish your "project" you realize that you aren't really finished until you turn around and repeat the whole process over again.

Other than that, I thought it was fun--especially turning the heel--I don't know why...

Pattern: Knit to Fit Ankle or Calf Socks by Nancy Lindberg
Yarn: Trekking color 158
Needles: size 2

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Side Slip Cloche (finished)

Here it is, and I love it. Easy and fast to knit, this one was pure fun!

Now, a word about my photography. Something is not gelling. I took 15 pictures of this hat because I just couldn't get it to look as cute in the pictures as it did in the mirror (could someone please explain this phenomenon to me?). And I go through the flash dance (not that flash dance...give me a moment to compose myself from laughing....) every time I take a picture of any of my projects. Take one with the flash, take one without the flash. with, without, with, without. With gives an artificial light and makes my background too dark, without gives the right light but the image comes out looking fuzzy--even if I place the camera on an inanimate object and set the shutter on a timer. And then I pose. and pose. and repose and pose again to get the perfect angle that both shows off my object and doesn't make me look like a dork. This process is doubled any time my face is involved-- my eyes look dead in that one, my chin is too high in that one, my smile looks too fake in that one, that one is just too cheesy, etc etc. And the thing is, some of the best ones look a little over-posed, but I use them anyway, because when I just "look normal" it looks stupid (does that mean that I normally look stupid?)

Maybe I'll start taking my pictures outside. And maybe I need a professional camera. All in all, I'm extremely disappointed in my pictures and picture taking ability. Take this post's pictures for example: I had to take them without the flash, but there wasn't enough light on my face so I had to over-expose them in my photo editor, bring down the highlights, and up the saturation just to make it look decent. By doing that though, my pictures turned grainy. *sigh* I need help, does anyone have advice?

So if my pictures ever look like I'm trying too hard, it's because I am trying too hard--way way too hard.

Pattern: from Boutique Knits by Laura Irwin
Yarn: Rowan RYC Soft Lux in Mist
Needles: knit in the round (except the band) with size 5 needles
Changes: I added an inch to the band and an inch of stitches to the body for size

Friday, April 3, 2009


So, remember this post about winning my free fabric?  They haven't contacted me yet, and now I have two beasts warring in my head:

*One of them wants me to politely mention it so that I can get free fabric.

*The other wants me to gracefully forget about it so as to avoid being one of those people that must right every wrong in the universe.

And since I am the most indecisive creature on the face of the Earth, I thought I'd let you all weigh in (check out the poll on the right) ----------->>

Also, a reminder to those of you who won my contest earlier (you had better be reading this!), please at least send me an address via email (located on the right somewhere in that mess) so that I can send you something lovely, and this includes all of the people who commented but didn't win so that I can send you your consolation prize!

And look forward to a bunch of finished projects as soon as I get off my Lazy butt to take pictures of them!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bread, part deux (finished) cross-post

Bread. The most intimidating of all baking. Difficult to master, and requiring of loads of patience and work. You must knead, and rise, knead, and rise, and knead, and rise. And then, after all of that, you must bake, all the while on the edge of your seat wondering: Will it be too dense? Will it be too hard? Will it be crumbly? Will my family eat it? Will I be able to use it as a doorstop if they don't?

Well, my friends, wonder and worry no more. You may have noticed the Shirly J button on the right (you did? What observant and smart readers I have!), and thanks to this glorious company, everyone can bake bread like a pro on the first try. How? With a mix. That's right, you read that right, a bread mix. I know, I was skeptical at first too, I am after all, generally anti-mix. They never taste right, and really, who would have thought that something so difficult as bread would work in mix form and be so easy to make? Certainly not I.

But I tried it. I got this little bread mix from Shirly J and I measured out 2 Tbs. of yeast and added it to 2 1/4 warm water. Then I measured out 6 c. of the mix, and kneaded it for about five minutes in my machine. Then I divided it and let it rise and threw it in the oven for 20 mins. And viola:

It tastes wonderful too, and you can't tell in the picture, but the crust is soft which is very important to me, because I was raised on bread-maker bread and we had to use a buzz-saw to get through the crust. Not very practical. If I'm going to make bread, I want to be able to do it for everyday use, and have it work well for sandwiches. This mix does just that.

I used the Honey Wheat, but they also have a Honey White, and I believe a Sourdough is coming soon...

Anyway, click on the button to the right and visit their website, and try it out for yourself!

Also, they are having an open house at the main office in Orem, UT this week and next so you can go visit, get a balloon for your kids and eat their products. It's good clean fun. (click on the button for address)