Archives from December 2008

Home from the Snowy Midwest

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, December 22nd, 2008 in Sheri's Recipes

yarn_table_lorezBrrrrrr.  I might have mentioned that I really like cold, snowy, blowy weather. And that’s true.  But I’ll tell you, it was really tested this past weekend. (Not the snow – one can never have too much snow.) We spent a few days with our friends in Iowa, where they had just gotten a 13″ snowfall the night before. It was beautiful!  But what really tested my “I love cold weather” mentality, was the freezing cold.  On Sunday, the wind chills dropped to minus 30 degrees.  (Minus. Thirty. Degrees. As in below zero.  As in really really cold.)  We all took that as a sign that we were meant to stay in and knit and play games and drink coffee and cozy up by the fire. There were five of us knitting (me, Knitting Daughter, Janice, her Knitting Daughter, and her Knitting Daughter-in-law).  The guys joined in on the games and the hanging out, but none of them are knitters. Go figure. We didn’t actually sit around the table and knit, because it was far more comfortable to sit on the couches and enjoy the fire.  But this photo will give you an idea of the projects we were working on.  All scarves. We had a great weekend.

Another thing that we enjoyed – Janice’s Tea Rings. Notice that “Rings” is plural.  That’s because there were 9 of us there and every time she pulled one out of the oven, it was instantly devoured.  She, being the good sport that she is, made another one Saturday night, and a third one on Sunday.  Does she spoil us, or what??  You’re definitely going to want to make one (or two or three) of these this week.  That gooey cinnamon and the sticky frosting are just as wonderful as they look in the photo.

tea_ringJanice’s Tea Ring

* Dissolve 2 pkgs. yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (add 1 Tbsp. sugar to feed the yeast)
Let sit 5-10 minutes.

In the meantime:

Put in Cusinart/Kitchen Aid bowl: (referred to as mixer in recipe)
4 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Mix in another bowl:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted shortening (not oil)
1 egg

1. Add yeast mixture to milk mixture and stir.
2. With mixer on, slowly pour the liquid into the flour mixture.
3. Let the mixer knead the dough for 5 minutes or so. (Check the dough periodically and if too sticky add a Tbsp of flour at a time until you have a nice dough.)
4. Knead on counter a few minutes.
5. Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rise until double.

* Note – you can also make this in a bread machine, adding the ingredients in the order listed, and let it go through the first rise cycle.  Then continue on with #6 in the instructions.

6. Roll dough out into a rectangle.
7. Spread with 1/4 cup melted butter and sprinkle generously with a cinnamon sugar mixture. (A little over 1/2 cup)
8. Roll up. Form a horseshoe and cut the dough every inch or so, but not quite all the way through. (I first cut off the ends and put in a separate pan for rolls)
9. Bring the dough together in a circle (on greased cookie sheet, or pie dripping pan) flipping each section on its side until it comes together.
10. Let rise again
11. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. (time varies a bit by oven…you don’t want it doughy)
12. Frost with powder sugar frosting.

POWDER SUGAR FROSTING

1 1/2 cups powder sugar
6 tsp. milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

Mix all together. Add additional milk tsp. at a time.

(Note – an even easier base recipe for this, when using a bread machine, is Janice’s White Roll Recipe, found here.  Then just follow directions 6-10.)

Thank you for all of your comments on Friday’s Random Acts of Kindness report-in! The winner last week (by random number generator) is Lisa from Missouri.  (Lisa, I emailed you!) Our last contest runs this week, with reporting in on Friday.  I hope you all have a fun time finding something to do that will bless others again this week.

Since this week is a holiday week, we will be taking a couple of days off to enjoy time with our families. We’ll be off on Wednesday afternoon, all day Thursday and Friday. (That means there won’t be any in-person shopping hours here this week, or on New Year’s Day, but of course the online shopping goes on 24/7!) We’ll do our last Sneak Up of 2008 on Friday or Saturday, and we’ll be in on Monday of next week to start getting all of those orders out to you. I know that a LOT of you will have Loopy Ewe Gift Certificates burning a hole in your pocket by then!

Sheri it’s21degreeshereanditfeelslikeaminiheatwaveafterthisweekend

Random Acts of Kindness, Week Three

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, December 19th, 2008 in Random Acts of Kindness, Sheri's Recipes

dsc02270When there are cats and Christmas trees in the house, the inevitable happens. The cat hangs out under the tree. (Do dogs do this, too? Our dog was always too big to fit under there, but maybe smaller dogs like to get under the tree?) This behavior stops when we fill that space up with presents, but I have a thing about not putting presents under the tree until a few days before Christmas. In the meantime, Gracie’s spot is safe.  At least until Zoe – the other cat – decides it is her turn. Fortunately both of them leave the ornaments alone, and somehow, neither of them is interested in climbing the tree. I know.  I’m lucky. I think we’ll keep them.

Do you do appetizers or brunches during the holidays? Here is a good recipe that always go over well. (And it’s easy.  We all need easy during the holidays.)

dsc02269Bacon-Wrapped Waterchestnuts

2 cans of whole water chestnuts
1 lb of bacon, sliced into thirds

Sauce:

1 cup ketchup
1 cup sugar
1 Tbl. lemon juice
(OR your favorite BBQ sauce)

Wrap each water chestnut with bacon and secure with a toothpick.  Layer on a shallow edged pan and bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until the bacon looks done.  Drain and then pour the sauce over everything. Put back in oven until sauce is heated through.

We’re hoping to be heading out of town for the weekend, but I’ll be back to emails on Tuesday. (Hoping, meaning we’re keeping our eye on the storms going across the midwest. We were supposed to be gone Friday- Sunday, but now we’re trying for Saturday-Monday. Email Susan if you need help on Monday – susan AT theloopyewe DOT com. Or call!) I can’t believe that next week is Christmas already. This month went WAY too fast.

Don’t forget to leave your RAKs in the comments today! We have another drawing for this week’s contest and I’ll announce the winner on Monday again. I love reading your RAKs!

Sheri hopingtogetsomegoodknittingdoneinthecaronourquicktrip

Three Things in December

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 in Three Things

dsc022751I can tell that Christmas is next week, because my mind has reverted to thinking in lists. Somehow that makes everything seem more manageable to me. (Never mind how MANY lists there are to think about. If I only have to think of 3 things at a time, it all seems more do-able.)  So today it is time for another Three Things blog.

Three favorite things that I have received recently:
1. This creative “Loopy” drawing by Carlo, Elf Sue’s son (who came to work with his mom last week) I asked for more so that we can put them on the Loopy refrigerator. :-)
dsc0226012. The crocheted Loopy that the nice people at Malabrigo sent to us for fun. (No wonder they wanted to take my Little Loopy when I saw them at Stitches!)
3. New yarn from Yarn Pirate, Tuscan Grove, and Spirit Trail Fiberworks. But I know that I don’t get to keep those.

Three favorite songs for the holidays:
1.  O Holy Night
2.  Silent Night
3. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Three songs that I’m really really tired of hearing:
1.  Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer
2.  I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
3.  Same Auld Lang Syne

Three things I need to finish up:
1.  Scarf (cashmere kit from Jade Sapphire)
2.  Scarf (Purple Spangle, from Jojoland)
3.  Scarf (Chevron, with Fiesta Boomerang. I will not start a new one until this one is finished. I will not start a new one until this is finished.  I will not start a new one until this is finished.)

Three more things I need to finish up:
1.  My second Transition Glove. (Apparently my second sock syndrome applies to gloves, too.)
2.  My second Malabrigo Sock
3.  All of the other second socks (approx. 35. ahem) that need to be completed.

Three things I’m anxious to knit after the gift knitting is done:
1. These fingerless mitts from a new indie dyer yarn I’m trying out.
2. Socks out of a new pattern that will go up on our Free Patterns page soon, out of Creatively Dyed Calypso.
3. Scarves (the addiction is apparently not over yet. I am waiting for it to pass.)

Three things I found this week that bring back memories:
1.  This pincushion. There was one in my grandma’s sewing basket and I always thought it was colorful and fun!
2. This slush mug.  My brother and I both had one and we kept them in the freezer at all times.
3. This video.  A favorite when the kids were young.

Three things on my schedule for today:
1.  Orders!  We’re still swamped from this week’s Sneak Up but we’re all pulling and packing as fast as we can to get them out to you.
2.  Emails. I am woefully behind. Why? See #1.
3.  Unpacking boxes of new yarn that have come in this week so that we can get it photoed and up for you.  I think the next Sneak Up will be the Friday or Saturday after Christmas. We have lots that has arrived to get up for you. (We will do a few re-stocks in the meantime. I have more Jojoland yarn and patterns that will be here in a day or so, in addition to a few other things.)

Sheri doyouhavethreethingstosharetoday?

Loopier and Loopier

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, December 15th, 2008 in Contest, Sheri's Top Tens, Shop News, Three Things

It must be the season. Everything just keeps getting Loopier around here, in terms of busy-ness!  Perhaps it’s very fitting, then, that our Little Loopy has grown up. :-)  When I called in another order for Little Loopies, our imprinting company told me that the Little Loopies were sold out (which was really no surprise to me, because I know how many of them are now living at all of your houses!), but they had a slightly larger size that they could do for us if we’d like. Sure – we’d like that.  When they arrived last week, we all oohed and aahed over them.  They are just as fun as the little guys, only in a bigger way.  (I took a photo with the big and the little, just for size comparison for you.) We will be able to get the little ones back in again in a few months if we’d like, but in the meantime, you have the chance to get the Big Guys. We like it when we have a full order of Loopies at Loopy Central, because they’re perched all over the place, waiting to be sent off to a good home!

We put up more great things for you today, too. Under What’s New you’ll find more of our exclusive Don’t Be Blue in Dream in Color Classy, 3 new colors of Team Spirit (burgundy and gold, orange and black, and yellow and black), The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga, new Knitspot patterns, more Zecca (look at all of the fun colors in these Snip Tipz – this is one of my favorite Zecca items), Namaste Buddy cases, Fleece Artist 2/6, Black Funny Fibers, Scarlet Fleece, Pattern Tamers, Sock Sacks and Fiesta Boomerang (which has me itching to start a few new color combos of Chevron Scarves.) We also re-stocked several popular items last week – did you catch them? We have more Bee Bars in stock, as well as Marie Mayhew patterns, HiyaHiya needles, Designs by Romi pins, and GoKnit pouches. Sometime in the next week or so, we’ll be putting up the new Lorna’s Laces  Commentary Colorway (named after Annie Modesitt), a new Alpaca yarn blend from Yarn Pirate, more Hand Maiden Casbah, the new semi-solid colors in Dream in Color Classy, and a few other things that will be in this week.

Thank you for posting all of your RAKs last Friday. Once again, I’m just so inspired by all of the creative and wonderful things that you think of to do for others during this time. We’ve all had fun reading through your comments.  The Random Number Generator picked Jennifer from California as the winner from last week.  I’ve sent you an email, Jennifer! If you missed the chance to get in on the RAK contest last week, we’re in the middle of another one.  Do a RAK for someone this week and post your comment on this Friday’s blog post for a chance to win the next drawing.

The other thing I know you’ve been waiting for this week is Spring Fling signups. I’m happy to announce that we’re ready! You can go here to signup.  We’ll close signups on Friday of this week and will then email everyone to confirm their spots after the weekend.  We’ve added in some extra spots this year, but if we do get more signups than spots, we’ll fill by lottery. (This is once again a full weekend package. Unfortunately we aren’t able to offer single day passes or a classes-only option.) We are looking forward to having all of you Loopy friends in for the weekend so that we can share Loopy Central and knitting time with you!

Sheri finishedmyspiraluciouscowlthisweekend,photossoon

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