Monday, November 24, 2008

Charity Knitting

I completed a number of items for charity over the last week. I made 3 hats for "Get Set for Winter", which is the Minnesota Knitter's Guild Fall charity. I didn't get any pictures as I finished the last hat in a flurry and handed it over to Steven at the meeting on Tuesday. I did complete 3 pairs of mittens to go with the hats on Sunday.

I'll get them to Steven at the next meeting in December. It's the annual potluck and I'm thinking of bringing lefse, but I'm thinking some cookies could be nice too.

I had some of the worsted yarn left over from the mittens so I knit a simple square for Warm Up America. I'll turn that over in December as well.

I read on Ravelry that Meals on Wheels is in need of potholders (they are trying to collect 800 by Christmas) and I thought that would be the perfect use for the skein of Wool Ease Chunky in my stash, and it was. I completed 5 over the weekend and I think they turned out really nice. I'm putting them in the mail today.

Holiday decorating

I repurposed my containers from the tomato plants to create some holiday decorations for the front of the house. I purchased a bunch of greens from Southview Garden Center and used the branches that I relieved from the dogwoods and created 4 arrangements.

I think they turned out really nice and probably will be my only "tree" for the holiday. I added some lights to the bunch and they add a nice soft glow in the evening.

I picked up the lights from Menards and they are solar. The small panel charges during the day and the lights come on once the sun goes down.

The lights are LED and are spec'd to last for 10 years. I love the fact that I don't have to think about turning them on or off and I don't have to pay for the electricity. The light set was about $15 each, but I don't think it's that bad. They do not give off a lot of light, just a soft blue glow, which I think is very pretty.

I purchased a couple new feeders for the front yard, but so far the birds have ignored them.

The stocking holds thistle seed and the log holds suet and is made out of recycled plastic. I set up my second bird bath in the front yard near the feeders, but no luck so far. I was hoping to attract some birds to amuse Lenny when he sits in the window and looks out.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I came across this picture and just love it.

How fun is this?

Build big

P and I attended an open house for one of Big Wood's clients over the weekend. The house is spectacular and located down in Hastings, off the St. Croix river.

Amazing views!

They haven't built the deck off the back of the house yet, but when that is done they are going to have so much space for entertaining in the warmer months. They have a lot of family. The owners of the home were great to work with and are warm and genuine people. It was lovely to celebrate the completion of their home with them.

A number of my co-workers attended and it was a chance to get some pictures in one of our completed homes. Mike and Dave are the owners of the company. Dave is the primary visionary/ designer and Mike makes the buildings come to fruition.

I'm the only woman who works for the company. I don't do any field work (although I have delivered the ocassional mantel order). I work in the office with Doug (on my right) and Matt (in the green) with the ocassional visit from Mike and Dave. It was nice to step into something we created. Beautiful home!

Friday, November 14, 2008

1 gallon to a good home

I received my 1 gallon pin when donating at the Red Cross last night.

My next donation is scheduled for 1/8/09. I could have gotten my 1 gallon 2 donations ago, but I wasn't paying attention. If I keep my donation schedule to every 2 months I should be getting my 2 gallon pin at the beginning of 2010, which would be neat.

I'm annoyed that my iron levels keep testing low each time and they need to do a second stick. Last night they were 11.5 and when they retested they were 13.7. Maybe I should have them test the left finger first since that always seems to do the trick. Usually I test low if my fingers are cold so some jogging in place and warming my fingers does the trick. Considering the amount of meat and iron rich foods I eat it seems odd to me.

The tech doing the draw got the vein in one stick. It was a thing of beauty and I had zero pain! Amazing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Viking hat

Originally uploaded by Valkyr8

It's intended for a baby/ toddler, but I pulled it onto my head for the sake of pictures. I think it turned out pretty good. I especially love the short row shaping used on the horns to make them curl up in the middle.

The hat has ear flaps (which you cannot see in the photo) and I'm waiting to add ties when the baby is born so I can choose the proper color.

This is the link for the pattern that I used.

Lefse and Flat Brot

I taught my third class through St Paul Community Ed on making Lefse and Flat brot. I made all of the dough ahead of time because I was not sure if we would run out of time with the addition of the flat brot to the class. As it was we were done with plenty of time to spare so I'm going go through the steps of making the dough during the next class in Feb. I'll still need to use the dough made ahead of time as it needs to chill for several hours. I'll also mix the flour into the dough and make the balls with the students during the class.

I had 6 students, which was lovely. 2 mother/ daughter pairs who were a lot of fun.

We baked up 2 batches of lefse (approx 66 pieces) and 1 batch of flat brot (approx 14 pieces). The flat brot takes a lot longer to bake up, and most of that is spent drying it in the oven.

I had a lovely surprise when I walked into the home ec room at Como as they had remodeled the space over the summer. It was SO nice. It had new stoves, counters, cabinets, steel tables and stools and all the lights worked. Fabulous! Only problem was they had moved the fridge to the other room and the fridge for the kitchen was in a locked space and off limits to me. Fortunately they moved the Spanish class out of the room with the fridge so we could still use it and not interrupt them.

For those interested, here are the recipes that I use.

Lefse, from Irene Thompson Goodoien and Mary Goodoien Pearson
4 cups water
½ c butter (1 stick)
2 tsp salt
1-2 T sugar
1 c. whipping cream
4 c. Betty Crocker© Potato Buds*
2 cups of white flour

Place the water, butter, salt and sugar in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling, turn off the burner and remove the pot from the heat and stir in 4 cups Betty Crocker© Potato Buds. Mix until well blended and let rest uncovered for 10 minutes. Mix the whipping cream into the potato mixture and blend until smooth. Spread the mixture evenly in a 9" x 13" glass pan and cover the surface of the potato mixture with plastic wrap. Make sure that you place the plastic wrap down on top of the potato mixture orcondensation will build up on the underside of the film while the potatoes cool and will drip back down making your mixture watery. Place the glass pan into the fridge and let sit for several hours until it is cold.Prepare you rolling space and plug in your griddle once your dough has completely cooled and prior to adding your flour. Divide your pan of potato mixture in half and remove one half and place in a mixing bowl. Using a dough hook mix in 1 cup of the white flour until well blended into the potato mixture. Divide the dough into small balls. I use a 3T size scoop. Once you have divided one half of your dough into balls, mix in another cup of flour to the remaining half of the dough and shape it into balls as you have already done. Place all of the small balls of dough back into the fridge and cover, bringing 2 out at a time to roll. You want your dough as cold as possible to keep it from sticking. Flour your rolling pin and board very well and gently roll out one ball until it is approximately 1/16" in thickness. Use your lefse stick and transfer the dough to your griddle, which should be at 500 degrees. It will take approximately 1 minute on each side to bake your lefse. The finished product will have tan spots across the surface. When one side is done flip it over to cook the other side and remove the finished piece to a towel and cover it to allow it to cool.I stack my lefse as I bake and cover the stack with a towel to let it cool. A batch of lefse can be prepared very quickly if two people work together, one rolling and one turning and baking; although I have done it alone many times and it is not that difficult.
* Do not substitute another brand of potato flakes. This recipe only works with Betty Crocker.

Flat Bröd, Marie Goodoien via Cousin Carol Johnson
Mix the following dry ingredients together:
2 c white flour
1 c corn meal
1 c graham flour (or whole wheat)
1 heaping tsp salt
1 heaping tsp sugar

Place 2 c. of water in a pot and add 1 T of shortening (butter or vegetable) and bring it to a boil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the boiled water. Mix well and cool until the mixture is fairly cold. The dough will be sticky and you will need a lot of flour when rolling it out. Take a piece of dough roughly the size of a racquetball and roll it out into a very thin circle, as you would lefse. Bake the round on a lefse griddle set at 400 degrees for a couple of minutes each side. You want it brown on both sides. Transfer the browned rounds to an oven set at 225 degrees F to continue baking and dry out the rounds (approx 10-15 minutes). The finished rounds will be crunchy and dry, like a very thin cracker.

Suggested Stores, Web:

Lefse Time: Excellent price on Lefse grills and kits. The lefse starter kit runs $125+ shipping, however it includes a potato ricer, which is not needed when using instant potatoes.

Bethany Housewares: no-frills website that carries all of the Bethany brand equipment. has a small selection of Scandinavian appliances. Does not sell lefse griddle or a wooden lefse turner.

Winter arrives

We woke to our first significant snow fall this morning. It's the perfect snow for snowballs and snowmen, wet and heavy. I thought the world looked beautiful!

The birds have been busy eating all the seed I put out for them. It's wild, my thistle feeder was barely touched at the old place and here is is swarmed with goldfinch each day. I think I'm going to put a couple feeders out front to amuse the cats.

"Hey guys, what are you looking at?"

Lenny says, "I'd like birdfeeders near my viewing spot."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008