Saturday, October 27, 2012

Waiting for Sandy

Saturday night, and we are at home.  Not that this is unusual, but right now we are (sort of) waiting for the hurricane Sandy-- the Frankenstorm-- to hit the shore.  We live about 25 miles from the coast and have a couple of big rivers that always swell from the storm surge.  In fact, when we were coming from the commissary on base (picking up food that we could eat if the power went out) we noticed that all the boat docks on the river on base were already under water.

However, it won't be a direct hit to our area.  What we are concerned with is the wind.  One tree knocks over a power line close to us and we could be without power for a day or so.  (I was here when Irene came through [Mike was overseas] and we were without power for five days.)  And it has been raining here literally all day.  Poor little dogs hate it.  Their muppety little paws just soak up water like sponges.

So what have I been doing to amuse myself tonight?  Knitting, watching a movie (Tequila Sunrise-- a pretty decent movie for being twenty years old, although I've now heard enough light jazz sax music to last for quite a while), and surfing the internet, where I stumbled onto a great photo-editing site to replace the now-defunct Piknick (sp?).  The site is PicMonkey and I found it thanks to Green Apples.  I love her blog.  She sews much of her own wardrobe, and her blog details her projects and the mods she makes.  She also details a lot of her daily wardrobe, which gives the reader an idea of how the patterns she chooses work in real life.  Definitely worth checking out!

Okay, so here are the photos I manipulated!
Fun, but yarn got boring so I started using photos with actual people.  Me, as a matter of fact.  I used the same picture so I could see what different effects looked like.
It is hard to tell, but there is a wash over this.  I meant the borders to pick up on the rose bushes behind me.
Love this effect, especially the fake film numbering up top!
Isn't the edging fun?  It is called "craft scissors" and they have several different types.
And one of my main squeeze!
Matching Packer jerseys.
It was quite fun to fiddle around with the pictures, but I know so little about photo editing that I'm sure some of the finer points of the site are wasted on me.  I would really like to learn more about it, so maybe you will start seeing some crazy fun pictures on here!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pizza Night!

Mike and I love pizza.  Well, Mike loves it more that I do-- he could eat pizza just about every day.  And he likes things like pizza rolls and those two dollar frozen pizzas, which  I honestly think are guy things.  I mean, I've never met a female who loves her some pizza rolls.

Anyway, delivery pizza is expensive.  Having worked for tips for many years, I tip well.  The pizza delivery person gets at least five bucks from me, more if it is raining.  We usually get breadsticks, and Mike likes chicken wings.  It wasn't unusual for delivery pizza for us to cost upwards of twenty-five dollars.

That is way too much.  AND I don't know what is in the crust, sauce, etc.  So a couple of years ago we started making pizza.  At first we only managed to make pizza about once every month or so.  It seemed like a lot of work, and even though it was better pizza, it seemed like such an inconvenience that we didn't get into the habit of it.

Eventually we started making more pizza than we ordered.  I'm not sure how this happened, but now we almost never order it.  It is so super easy.  I'm generally torn between two dough recipes.  The first is from Vegan with a Vengeance.  It is a simple recipe that make a nice medium weight dough, nice and chewy and good enough for breadsticks.  The problem is that it is a "double rise" dough, and sometimes I don't have enough time, or planned my day well enough to do this.  The second is from Dinner: A Love Story.  Simple dough, single rise, thinner crust.  (I haven't tried this recipe as breadsticks so I don't know how it works.)  Mike has been liking the Dinner/Love recipe, but he prefers a thin, crispy crust.

Which leads me to the point of this post.  We've been baking the pizza on a baking stone lately.  I use the Pampered Chef stoneware.  (I am not affiliated with Pampered Chef.  I do not sell their products.)  I've been using the large bar pan for pizza.  I have one that is about two years old, but decided I need another for making a second pizza or breadsticks.  I had no idea how well mine was seasoned until I saw my new one this afternoon.
Sisters.  The older one is much prettier.
Isn't that crazy?  I use my bar pan for everything from pizza to roasting vegetables to making baked french fries.  This is probably one of the top five most-used things in my kitchen.  I am very excited to have another!  I almost feel like I should take a picture before each use and make a flip-book of the seasoning of it.

Like I said, the perfect crust is a work in progress.  Right now we are experimenting with baking the topping-less crust for a few minutes to crisp it up, then adding the sauce, cheese, and topping.  This is probably the best way to ensure a crisper crust, but we are still finagling the time.
Ready for the oven, for the second time.
We also make our own sauce and shred our own cheese.  (Do you know what is in those pre-shredded bags of cheese?  Wood fiber!  Not for me!)  I mix up a batch of season mix for the sauce that makes about forty pizzas and just add a scoop of that to tomato sauce with some honey and parm.  Shredding our own mozzarella is easy and much cheaper than buying it.

And the final pizza?  De-lish.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Getting into a groove

Whew!  Finally, a moment break from school and reading.  I am really trying to get into a groove with studying and reading (oh, my goodness, the reading).  I even had time to start a new project.
Yes, it is a Baktus.  It is very simple and will be lovely when I've finished with it.  Of course, I'm not the first.  As of now, there are over 7,000 of these on Ravelry.  I'm using Knit Picks and Noro Silk Garden Sock.  I have a love/hate relationship with Noro.  I love the colors and the long intervals between changes.  However, this is the first time I've used the Silk Garden Sock.  I don't think I would use this for socks.  There are lengths were the yarn is really really thin and others where there's a poofy-ness to the yarn.  I don't think it would wear well as socks.

It also twists like a beast.  It just seems to want to get up all over itself, and makes the striping a bit frustrating and slow.  The roughness of the Silk Garden makes it "catch" on the navy yarn.  I find myself constantly pulling the two yarns away from each other.  I've knit other stripey things, and I know the standard tricks to keep yarn behaving-- turning the needles the same way, bring the yarn up and over the previous yarn--but these are just not working together well.  I've decided to enjoy the process, though, and not worry about the product.  I don't need the scarf yet anyway.  It has been in the 80s here lately, with high humidity.  (Didn't anyone tell Mother Nature it is October?)

Of course, even though I haven't had enough time to actually knit much, I have shopped for yarn.  First, some Lorna's Laces Limited Edition.
This arrived today, which is appropriate considering last night was the (rather disappointing) debate.  The one on the left is "Independent" and the one on the right is "Blue State."  I'm solidly in the Blue State category, but I couldn't resist the Independent.  Green and Gold are Packer colors, and I'll probably make Mike a new pair of socks to wear with his Packer jersey.  Maybe he will get them for next season. 

And then there's this!
Watermelon sock yarn!  These will be so cute!  And look closer at the little bag in front.  See it?
A watermelon stitch marker!  Such an adorable little touch!  I can't wait to start these.  The cuteness will be overwhelming!  (Purchased on Etsy from KnitPurlGurl.)