Sunday, May 23, 2010

Secrets (by Count Basie and the Kansas City Seven, since there a lot of songs with this title)

Well, the secret project details are finally out. Yesterday we had meeting of the Misplaced Modifiers (my writing group) scheduled and it was my turn to host. Since Sally is due soon and has an induction scheduled, we decided it was best to ambush her at this meeting, since we weren't sure how we would get to her at any other time.

This is what has been referred to as the Secret Group Project on Facebook and Ravelry (although I've already edited the project details on Rav). Each of us did either one or two squares (thanks to Alison M., Angie F., Donna D., Linda D., Mary Kate R., Mary S., Mary T., Nancy B., Paula M., Sarah A., and Tracy B.). I also did a square and put it together, and did the cable edging.

This picture shows my square and the edging, as I forgot to take a picture until the blanket was already assembled.

I also did an individual project for Sally, which has been referred to as the individual secret project on Facebook, and Secret Project III on Ravelry (although project details have already been updated.) I did a baby blanket I've had my eye on for a while, because hey, purple T-Rex's, who can resist that? I had also intended to do a

stuffed T-Rex toy that goes with it, but there just wasn't anyway I could get it done, with Secret Project II in the wings for Chris and Kristie, Secret Project IV starting for Sarah A., and a lace wedding purse and two helmet liners that have to be completed by the end of June. I do have a vast propensity to over commit myself and choose ridiculously complicated projects. I have been referred to as a knitting masochist. The lace purse for Kat D. is almost done though, I just have to block and sew in the liner that will match her wedding dress. Pictures will be posted later.

The shower went very well. The presents and treats were wonderful. I made chocolate fondue with almond milk instead of heavy cream (which is okay, but let's face it, doesn't work the same and doesn't thicken up real well), and a milk free chocolate lava cake. Sarah A. brought wonderful cupcakes, Linda D. brought this incredibly huge strawberries for the fondue, Ellen R. brought deviled eggs, Mary Kate R. brought hummus with pita bread and carrots, Alison M., brought chips and salsa, and Mary S. brought a wonderful chocolate mousse cake torte thing from Bread and Chocolate.

It was really yummy, but way too much food, for the number of people we had there.
After the food, we had the blanket and other presents presentation. Sally seemed very surprised and very pleased with everything.
Lastly were the hand knitted gifts. Mary S. did a wonderful intarsia lion sweater for Sally as well as the aforementioned blanket projects.

This week was really busy getting ready for the shower, plus I had a Pampered Chef show on Tuesday in between. Which was useful in that Shawn and I had to really clean last weekend to get ready for it, and we didn't really mess the place up that much in between Tuesday and Saturday, so there was less to do Friday night. I learned how to make the chocolate lava cake at the show, which is really good, and takes no time, so that's really bad actually.
Today I'm making dinner for a friend with some health issues and trying to use up some of the things we still have in the freezer with milk. I'm happy that I can help her because she's just a really good person and not waste this food at the same time. We've been giving away products with milk in them that Shawn won't use on his own. Unhappy milk discoveries this week: Penzey's Original Taco Seasoning has lactose in it. Imitation crab (seafood salad stuff) has whey in it. The Puritan in Manchester puts non fat dairy powder in their breading/batter for seafood, so no seafood for me there. It's been really ridiculous what has whey, casein, or lactose in it. Happy non-milk discoveries this week: Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix and Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting, neither of which has milk and which can be used to make the aforementioned chocolate lava cake. I'm considering buying a bread machine, because finding a loaf of bread without milk it in was a real freaking challenge.
I also tried a soy version of whipped cream this week. It was okay. I'm really coming to the conclusion that I really just don't like soy milk replacement products. I tried Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, which is much closer to a real milk taste than the sweetened. Also I tried a cheese free mac and cheese mix from the grocery store. It was okay, but bland. Not close enough for me to actually eat again.
In other news, I don't really have any. I've been either cleaning like a demon, knitting up a storm, and trying to do enough laundry to have clothes for the next day. Speaking of which, I have go do at least a load or two of work clothes. Looking forward to things slowing down a bit.
Stay tuned for further updates as we receive them.

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