Monday, December 28, 2009

Post-Christmas Wrap-Up (get it? wrap up? HA HA)

Ah, another Christmas come and gone. Gus and I have been spending a lot of quality (and quantity) time in our pajamas, vegging out. He has been busy with Legos and Wii and I have been indulging in a sort of frenzied orgy of non-present knitting. It's all for me! It doesn't have a deadline! I can knit anything I want! I'll post those items in the next day or so as they come off the needles in a crazy Lucille-Ball-conveyor-belt manner.

But first, what I knit for gifts. I knit 2 berets for my sister Laura, one pink and one cream, as requested, but never got to take a picture, so that was stupid. One was the 3-Gauge Beret by Nancy Lindberg and one was the Star-Crossed Beret by Natalie Larson.

For my other sister, Sarah, I knit a Snowman Family representing her, her husband Jon, son Charlie, daughter Grace, and cat Clyde.

By the time I got to Clyde my hands were killing me, but I had to finish and he is so funny that I laughed out loud every time I looked at him.

I also went cuckoo-nutso for this pattern and knit 4 of these little red cabled sweaters, 3 as Christmas ornaments for some dear friends and one for our tree.

The other big undertaking was a vest for my husband Matthew. I've knit hats and scarves and slippers for him, but never a sweater. He puts holes in the elbows of his sweaters, so a vest seemed like a good idea. I found some beautiful forest green heather Berroco Vintage Wool in Boston, pulled out my handy Knitter's Book of Patterns, turned to the Basic Vest pattern, and then the fun began. I did a gauge swatch like a good girl, picked out the appropriate size and stitch count and knit away. When I got up to the armholes, I realized that I had been on crazy crack and my stitch count was off by like 18 sts! Say what?! I readjusted everything and soldiered on, but I wasn't sure that it would be okay until Christmas morning, when this vision appeared:
My good husband in his PERFECTLY PERFECT-FITTING vest!!! I actually got weepy!! But that was the crazy crack again. I see dozens and dozens of lovingly (and more mindfully) handknit vests in this poor man's future!!

So that's that. One last note about holiday knitting: I knit tons and tons of impulse projects this past year because I wanted to kill some time or try a new technique or get rid of some yarn or wanted to knit what everyone else was knitting. The result was a huge amount of hats, mittens, scarves and miscellany, more than I could ever use in a lifetime, that made great last-minute gifts for co-workers and friends and relatives. I highly recommend this.

Hope you all had lovely holidays and are enjoying some relaxing time off. Soon Gus and I will get out of our pajamas....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What I'm Eating and Drinking...

Here's an update on my favorite holiday treats.

Gigantic Eggnog Latte #3. This was from the new Giant supermarket in Willow Grove. It got cold while I was shopping (poor planning on my part), so I brought it home and nuked in my festive snowflake mug:

Gigantic Eggnog Latte #4 - from the Starbucks in the Ardsley Genuardi's, posing with Augustus:

Nummy Peanut Butter Blossoms (the best cookie ever invented - don't you agree??)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cinnamon Pinwheely Goodness

So much Phillies stuff to talk about! But I will save my pontificating until the Halladay deal is complete. I've gone into cookie overdrive here chez Momogus. I tried a new recipe this year and liked it so much I thought I'd share it with you.

Look how adorable! (Don't be fooled by weird photo perspective - they're about 1 1/2" across)

Like little cinnamon buns, but not sticky. They look a little complicated but they're not. Here's the recipe:

Cinnamon Pinwheels of Goodness

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated (the dough will be stiff). Shape into a disk and refrigerate, wrapped, for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each piece into an 8"x12" rectangle (this was hard for me - my rectangles ended up 7 1/2" x 9" or 10 1/2 x 11" - a general rectangle shape is fine). Sprinkle with a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used half of this on each of the 2 rectangles). Starting from a long side, roll each rectangle into a log. Refrigerate until firm (this doesn't take long). Slice 1/4" thick.

Bake on a parchment-covered baking sheet until just brown, about 13-15 minutes. Transferring the slices onto the sheet is messy - the pinwheels do not stay structurally sound and the cinnamon-sugar stuff starts flying. But persist and don't fret. It all comes together in the oven.

Enjoy and go Phillies!

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's My Birthday!

Well, it was on Saturday. I love my birthday! Here are two of the nicest things that happened on my birthday this year.

A delicious cake (that I baked). It's vanilla cake with chocolate icing, my favorite combination:

It was decorated by two of my favorite people in the world. These two:
My boy and his aunt, my beloved sister Laura who came up for the day. Yippee!!

I love my birthday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Gigante Eggnog Latte #2 of the season:

Yummeeeeee........ (bonus points if you can name the neighborhood I was in...)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Catching Up

First, some apologies for being lazy and posting duplicate posts that I wrote up for the Momogus Knits company blog. That blog is all knitting and useful knitting stuff. This blog is supposed to be all pictures of eggnog lattes and musings on Pat Burrell's smoky calendar pictures. [Pat Burrell......smoky goodness....sigh......]

But it is also for the recording of all the flotsam and jetsam of non-Momogus knitting. It would be nice to present these as I knit them, in a sensible and non-crazy form. But it would be nice to do a lot of things, and most of them aren't happening! So anyway, here is a cavalcade of recent finished knitting projects. (Sports fans, there's some Phillies/Sixers chat after all the knitting)

Bella's Mittens (oh so romantically draped on the printer at work):
Inspired by the movie "Twilight" (have you heard of it?), these are a sample for a class at the Tangled Web. This was a really well-written pattern, and I lurved how these turned out. Knit in Berroco Peruvia, one of my all-time favorite yarns.

French Press Slippers:
(I think I might have sewn the buttons on the wrong end of the flaps, but I'm not sure...)
One of the things I like about Ravelry is that it allows me to indulge my inner bandwagon-jumper. Though I like to think I am resistant to jumping on bandwagons generally, sometimes I like to see what's the most popular project on Ravelry and join the crowd. Everybody's making these! They turned out great. They were quick, but because I chose black they were not the most enjoyable project to knit or seam.

I used Cascade 220, which usually doesn't felt well for me, but these felted perfectly - who knew? I also used some hand-felted buttons we have for sale at the Tangled Web.

I feel these will add a touch of elegance to the distinctive Phillies t-shirt and Old Navy pajama bottom combo I usually don for sleepwear or loungewear.

Baby Surprise Jacket:
Talk about jumping on the bandwagon! This may be the most popular knitting pattern of all time. I love reading Elizabeth Zimmerman's books, but I've never knit one of her patterns before. It wasn't the most enjoyable knit I've ever knit, but I am truly in awe of her genius in thinking it up. It's knit in one piece and seamed on top of the sleeves. I meant to take a picture of it before I seamed it up because it's just one goofy-looking piece, but I was so anxious to finish that I forgot. This is for a class at The Tangled Web. Jojoland Rhythm yarn with a single crochet edging around the front.

Star-Crossed Beret:
(sorry I did not have a head to model this on - well, I do have a head of course - I mean a foam head. Oh never mind...) Another very popular Ravelry pattern that we're teaching as a class at the store. I used one of the 10,000 balls of Malabrigo I've accumulated. Gentle cabling, good shaping (this is one of the best-fitting hats I've ever made), quick knit. I highly recommend.

I also have a bunch of holiday knitting going on that I cannot share with you, but will eventually.

Now let's talk Phillies. I am so happy to see THIS MAN back in a Phillies uniform:
Yay! Placido Polanco!! I really liked Pedro Feliz and his beautiful style of play, but Polanco's almost as good defensively (though he hasn't played 3rd since he left the Phils) and brings a bigger bat to the hot corner. Great move, Ruben Amaro, Jr!

And speaking of players returning to Philadelphia, what about THIS GUY?
(Remember? 2001 playoffs when he stepped over Tyrone Lue? Awesome!!)
I have to say that, despite his off-court shenanigans, I've always liked Iverson. I hope he does well and that his second tenure here ends more happily than the first.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A List of Charitable Organizations

I love giving and receiving presents as much (okay, maybe more) as the next person, but this time of year, it's good to take a break from your gift list and think about how you can make your world better. Here's a link to Interweave Press's list of charitable organizations and their guidelines for giving. Boy, just reading the list gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling!
Though every one of these programs is doing fabulous wonderful necessary work, one of my personal favorites is Heifer International. They donate animals, trees and other stock to needy families around the world in order to increase sustainable self-sufficiency. They have a "Knitting Basket" donation that provides two llamas and two sheep to a family for income-producing wool.

Each year Gus and I go through the catalog and pick out an animal to give. Two years ago we had Merry Chicksmas and last year was Merry Cowmas. He donates all of his December allowance and then asks relatives to each donate a few dollars too. And that adds up to a lot of chicks! Or one cow!

Most of these organizations will accept donations on behalf of someone else, so think of it as a nice alternative to a gift card to the local mall. A donation to a charitable organization is especially nice for a teacher's gift.

And, as I tell myself 10 times a day this time of year, stay calm! Take some time to stop and smell the pine and cinnamon scents around us, hear the beautiful holiday music, watch the twinkly lights, sip some hot chocolate, and appreciate all the little good things we have in our lives.