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Knitting, Baking, New Quarters for the Chickens, and a Birthday

Posted by mrssmythe on December 3, 2017 in Baking, Celebrations, Chickens, Crafting, Critters, libraries |

Have you started your holiday baking yet? Ginger and I began last week after she received a cookie press for her birthday. The spritz you see here were the happy result.

We used the Taste of Home Lemon-Butter Spritz Cookies recipe which made 12 dozen, though it felt like more. By the end, we were completely “spritzed” out, but the cookies were delicious, and it you’re going to spend the afternoon baking, it’s very satisfying to end up with a freezer full of cookies. (In case you’re curious, we used the Sunny Side Up Bakery Cookie Press. I think it’s available at Hobby Lobby.)

In other baking news, Ginger made these adorable mini chocolate cheesecakes for Thanksgiving dessert:

She used a recipe we found on the back of a Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate bar package. They were very simple and definitely a crowd-pleaser. I baked an apple pie and a pumpkin pie, but the cheesecakes were the first thing to go. If you’re interested, you can find the recipe we used HERE.

On the knitting front, I finally finished the Kitsap Cardigan I’d been working on.

I altered the pattern a bit – the trim and neckband were knit asymmetrically on the original, and I wasn’t a fan of that detail.

Otherwise, though, I kept everything the same. The yarn was lovely to knit with and the sweater is very cozy to wear. I really like the colors, too.

The minute the sweater was finished, I started on a birthday present for Ginger. Earlier this month, she’d requested one of the Ski Trio Hats she’d seen in a knitting catalog I’d received. Everything you need comes in one handy kit:

And, here’s the finished product –

It was a snap to knit, but be sure to get your gauge right – there’s very little room for error with the yarn. I used every scrap of remaining orange and blue for the tassels.

It will make a fine addition to Ginger’s unusual hat collection. Here you see her opening gifts on her birthday. Hard to believe she’s thirteen already!

Next up in the knitting queue – a sweater vest for me. Here’s the swatch I knit in preparation for the actual project:

I threw the mug in there to illustrate how often I am drawn to this family of colors.

The chickens are doing well – though not laying at present because our daylight time is so scarce (just over 9 hours today – they need 14-16 hours’ worth to be laying their best). CPT America cut a door into the barn so they will have extra space to stretch their legs when the weather is inclement.

It’s nice to think they’ll have somewhere warm(er) and dry when the snow starts to fly.

They still spend their nights in the Eglu coop, though. It’s much more predator-proof than the barn, and warmer, too.

And, finally, a glimpse into the interior of the Holyoke Public Library:

Have you been there yet? Isn’t it a beautiful facility? They’ve done a marvelous job merging the older sections of the building with the new addition.

I love stopping in at other Massachusetts libraries because 1). I can check out any of the books (the libraries here are all connected), and 2). a lot of them are in older buildings with beautiful architecture.

Among the books I checked out…Knitting and Tea, a promising looking volume with a tempting fruitcake recipe I decided to try out this afternoon. Stay tuned…

From the kitchen table – just now realizing I have fruitcake batter in my hair (there was a little oven “excitement” earlier this afternoon),

Mrs. Smythe

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