Monday, December 31, 2012

 Union Station is pretty at night.  We went up Sunday evening to fetch Margaret.
It has the Grand Hall on the west side of Canal St.  The east side of Canal St., downstairs, has the trains.  When we dropped Margaret off Union Station was available to stroll around.  People were taking pictures and resting on benches waiting for trains.  On the return trip  it was blocked off due to a big ole shin dig going on.  It was called something like Eve of the Eve party.  It appeared to be a black tie event with men and women dressed to the nines.  The above picture shows just a portion of the line to the ladies room.  The other half of the line is inside the restroom.  Here is the funny part.  Because this kind of stuff happens to me.   This line is not on the west side of Canal St. where the Grand Hall is on the train side.  These lovely ladies traipsed as best as they could over to the restroom at the Metra line. (they needed to make sure they could walk in their new high heels before going out in them) It seemed funny to me.  Here is something even funnier....see that leg in the blue jeans towards the front of the line.  It's mine.  I was standing in line with scads of dressed up woman.  No two dresses were the same. The less material used the better, apparently.  And then there was me.  Talk about not fittin' in.   But you know what....I was pretty happy I didn't fit in.  I looked at each woman as she walked by....looked right in her eyes....because when you are waiting on a train after a five hour drive late at become bold and daring like that.  (ha).   Their eyes were empty and hollow.  They didn't seem happy deep inside.  They made me sad.  I felt sorry for them.  But I can't blame them for wanting to attend a party inside the top picture.  It's really pretty.
Until next time.
Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Attempt #3 to Spin Wool

My day started out like this.  My sweet husband cleaned it off for me and I headed down the road.
About an hour or so later I reached my destination there in that stand of trees.
Down the drive.
Back around to the shop (not in pic)
The Superbly Cute Spinning Wheel from Schacht Spindle Company
That is where I met my new best friend. Her name is LadyBug Schacht.  I love her.  This is the third wheel I have tried and I think she is the ONE.  She doesn't look fancy but she is solid.  We got a long just fine.
We spun up a little Cormo.
I can't remember the name of the gadget below other than it was a type of winder.  Pretty handy to wind the spun wool onto til time to ply.
Here it is winding up some spun wool.
The wool going from the wheel ( I can't exactly remember what that piece is called-a bobbin?) to the winder.
When I went to my first fiber festival and even my second one, I wondered what would one do with these braided things.  Now I know.  You spin them into wool.
Plying from the bobbins.
These are camelids of some sort....llamas?  Seem too big for alpacas.  What do you think?
The roads were not as friendly on the way home.
All-wheel drive is a good thing.
This is my little hank of yarn that I spun up today.  For my third attempt, it isn't too bad.
I love it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

 We drove in on the Skyway.
 Apparently it costs $3.50 regardless how far you drive on it.
 Lake Michigan on a cold day.
 Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears play.
Building out on Navy Pier.
 The pillars at Union Station.  Nothing less than impressive.
 Walk into the station, go down a flight of stairs into the great hall, then on down more stairs to the East to the Metra station and the Amtrak Station.
 Our daughter grabbed her bags and hopped on the California Zephyr.
 The train was backed in and she texted and said she was on this last car.

 We walked in under those pillars and came out on the other side of
Canal St.

 We came out from underneath the building on the left.
 Station is under here.
 This was an elevated train that we saw on the way back to Lake Shore Drive.
 Part of the city in the distance.
Driving east on Jackson.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Year of the Pie - Pie #47 Blue Bramble Pie **revisited**

I found this recipe in a big pie book, tweaked it to suit my wants and whims.....and named it Blue Bramble Pie.  ***  I have since tweaked this again.  This is my final tweak!** maybeI mentioned in the original post that you have my blessing to use store bought crusts....well, you still do, but not as much.  LOL  Make your own pie crust is you have the time.
1 C. King Arthur Unbleached A/P flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 C. COLD diced up (small) butter
2-6 T. ice water water

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl that you can cradle in one arm while stirring with it with a fork in the other hand.   Cut in the diced butter with a pastry mixer.  (you can sit the bowl on the counter for this) Mix well. Then with the fork again, stir in 1 T. of ice water at a time, stirring lightly and quickly, when each T. has been mixed in well, add another T. and do the same until it miraculously comes together and leaves the sides of the bowl clean.  You have a lovely dough ball.  ***you probably won't need 6 t. of water...if just depends (usually it is just 3-4)***
This makes one crust.  

If you like are gonna love this. It is super easy.
Get two crusts ready and let them chill ( I chill one crust fitted in the pie plate and one crust flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper) while you prepare the rest.
If you don't want to make your own crust....go ahead and buy the pre-made ready to roll out kind. Can you believe I said that? This is how much I want you to make this pie!!!! Really!!

First things first though. Run to Aldi and grab two of these frozen bags of mixed berries. It is the triple mix of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Also grab, while you are there in the freezer section one can of frozen orange juice.....the kind you mix with water at home. You might as well grab some flour, sugar and butter while you are there too.

Get the crusts to chilling when you arrive home and set the orange juice out to thaw. Empty the berries into a large bowl to thaw and then remove 1 ½ C. of the berries and reserve this for your husband's ice cream.
Mix 2/3 C. white sugar, 2 heaping T. + 1 tsp. cornstarch, and a pinch of salt.
Take 3 T. of the orange juice concentrate, sprinkle it over the berries and mix together.
Then sprinkle on the sugar mixture and gently blend.

Pour this into the prepared pie crust.
Apply top crust, put cute designs and slits in it and bake at 400° for @ 1 hour. Check after the first fifteen minutes to see if you need to put on the crust shield. Keep an eye on it and turn the pie 180° about half way through, you don't have Accu-bake.
Let it cool about 2 hours before serving.

**While I didn't alter the filling on this post I DID change the crust ingredients, from Crisco shortening to butter.  I don't use Crisco any longer** 
Until next time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Russian Tea

Big Pot
7 tea bags (I use Lipton)
1-46 ounce can of Dole Pineapple Juice
1 can of frozen orange juice and one can of water to rinse it out
1/3 C. lemon juice
2 C. sugar

Boil 4 C. water and dissolve the sugar in it.
Bring it to a boil.
Add all juices.
Bring it back to a boil.
Add 8 more cups of water.
Heat through.
Steep 7 tea bags for 10 minutes, fish them out and discard.
Let it simmer a bit.
Delicious warm OR cold.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I shouldn't be surprised when God answers prayer and blesses me.  Like he did the other morning.  But I WAS surprised and blessed all at once...all of a sudden!!!!
It is the little blessings that are the biggest it seems.  I guess because when we pray for small, insignificant things we think it is too small for Him, too menial for him to turn his eye towards.  But boy are we wrong when we think like that.  I mentioned on Facebook the other day how blessed I was to see a flock of Sandhill Cranes flying high over head as I stepped outside to get some fresh air after I helped Chris lug a couch up from the basement of a clients house.  Inside I was singing the blues because...lugging that couch up surely wasn't part of the deal.  But God had plans for see those wonderful birds that we only see a couple times a year here in Indiana.   
O.K.  so fast forward a couple days.
It was an overcast balmy 50° and I was waiting on the side porch for Chris to swing by and pick me up so I could go with him on a job.   I was observing two flocks of birds flying around.  They met up and then flew off together.
As they were flying off, a bird in a tree a block away, was squawking and making a racket.  He was big and dark, bigger than a crow, and I didn't recognize him or his sound.   So here is where the blessing came in.  I said, "Oh, Lord, I wish you would have him fly over here so I can see what kind of bird he is."....BAM!!! off of the limb he swooped...he swooped low down towards the street flapping his big wings and he was making a bee-line straight for me on the porch!  He was on a mission.  I was dumbfounded, really.  So shocked and surprised and afraid at the same time because if he stayed on his current flight plan....I was gonna get it!
He was probably ten or so feet off the ground speeding along and at the very last possible moment, as he neared my FACE, he swooped straight up over the porch.
I could hardly BREATHE.  It was amazing.  Breathless I went inside to get the bird identity book and narrowed him down to a bird of prey, possibly a falcon of some sort..  I had never seen one like this before.....
Anyway,   I was giddy the rest of the day.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Delightful Give Away

A sweet family I know is having an embroidery kit give away here.    The patterns are truly lovely.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

 When I came home from spinning class Saturday Chris said he felt like he had a kidney stone.  He was in pain when he and Margaret put up the outside lights.  We are a strand short but we can get that later.  Shortly after they got them up the pain increased.  It takes a lot to get him to the E.R. but he was quite willing to go.  We went, they sent him home on pain meds to pass was a no-go.  We went back Sunday eve. and he stayed til Tues.afternoon when they surgically removed the dear thing.  No photo of it but it was 5mm or the size of a #8 knitting needle.  Everything revolves around knitting doesn't it?  LOL.  He is doing better.  He has a stent in that will be removed soon.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our daughter, Margaret, on Thanksgiving this year. 
Taken by my niece, Emily Rose

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Attempt #2 to Spin Wool

 I spent this spinning lesson on a Lendrum spinning wheel.  I liked this wheel a little better than the one I used at my first lesson.   It seemed to suit me better than the other.  Kate adjusted it a few times to meet my needs and then everything seemed to flow. 

She taught us how to card using the Schacht carder.  I found the motions of carding to be hypnotic in a way.  Very soothing.  In this card was some dyed Border Leicester locks.  Heavenly.

 I was able to spin a little white Cormo wool, Shetland wool and this Border Leicester wool intermittenly .  I changed off and on to get a feel for each wool and to practice adding new wool.  At the end of the class Kate took off  two separate pieces of spun wool and wound each to a plastic bobbin.  Then we made a two-ply piece of yarn by winding them together to the left onto the wheel.  Then we wound it onto the niddy noddy shown here.

Kate then tied them at certain spots and at last I had my two-ply yarn shown below.
Twisted into a hank.
Here is a shot of the Shetland wool and Border Leicester wool before carding.
An up close shot of my very uneven wool...but it's supposed to be like that because I am only a beginner! I love it's character.You can see where some spots were really good and others...not so much.

Until next time.