Dear Mom,

The blog has been quiet - I know I've been keeping a few things on the down-low. I can show you these though:

Tissue holders and a little bag for the birthday of one of my friends here. The handle of the bag is designed to easily button around the handle of one of her larger tote bags. I whipped these out Wednesday night. The photographer at this end has really not been meeting the high bar set by your stylist and photographer.

I've been working on my Socktoberfest socks, but they've been slow-going. I'm hoping to be done with the first one after watching the first game tonight (of the World Series). I have really enjoyed following along on the Flickr group, and seeing everyone's colorful socks.

The babies are keeping an eye on everything too.

Love, Gwen


It must be Fall...the oven is on.

Dear Gwen,
I love when the air temperature cools to the point where you can't wait to turn on the oven and start baking again. Though the real reason is to warm the house up in the morning without turning on the furnace. After a long break from baking I have to reaquaint myself with the baking supplies. I always forget what flours and extra baking ingredients I have squirreled away. I intended to make cherry biscotti but finished with apricot almond biscotti instead. Dad took some to work to share with his coffee. I never asked him if this was a defensive maneuver. The biscotti are baked twice which makes them twice as crunchy.
I also made one of my favorite cookies.

These mice are fun to make:

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

2 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream the sugar and fats. Add vanilla and egg. Mix well. Add the dry ingredients. Shape into 1 inch balls. Pinch one end to form the nose. The ears are two flattened pieces of dough. Add mini chocolate chips for eyes. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 13 minutes. Add the licorice tails after baking while cookies are still warm.

We shared these cookies with friends and received this picture the other day. Cat confusion!

I understand their dilemma. If you bite the tail you are left with a mouse head on your plate. Eat the head first and the tail remains. This is a problem not often encountered in food. I say just pop the whole thing in your mouth.

The baking didn't end with the mice. I had leftover boiled potato so I made potato bread. Five days later we are just finishing the second loaf. And it was not just any potato bread but it was Sister Jennie's Potato Bread from Bernard Clayton's bread book. This Shaker recipe describes the 8 hour rising time in front of the kitchen fires. Lacking a kitchen fire (boo hoo) I let it rise in the proofing drawer in the bottom of the oven. Despite the new-fangled environment it took the bread almost 8 hours from start to finish. Some recipes are not meant to be improved upon.

Now for a confection of a different kind. Do you remember this pretty yarn?

Due to some technical difficulties with the needle operator's brain and inattention to detail I have achieved the '4x start' project. I chose an easy knit 1, YO, knit two together pattern. Nowhere in the instructions did it warn you that it is fraught with potential potholes. I hit each one. Including messing up one turn so that the front became the back. This became Very Visible two-thirds back the length. I am now looking for this every inch or so. I still love the yarn, I am loving how it looks in the pattern, I will love it more at the bind-off.

Have you seen this 6 minute video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6ZjMWLqJvM


All photo credits (except the cats) belong to Dad.