Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Cake, Two Cakes, and a Shrug

Ok, so that title is actually a little out of order, but it's funnier that way.

For my birthday on Saturday (1/23), Richard and I drove down to Dalton GA to pick up a carpet. While we were down there we stopped at a Thrift store that was run by a mission. In the lobby they had a table of what R calls "used" baked goods. There was a sign on the wall, "Only ONE Cake Per Family." Well, we're a family, right? Sure enough, there were little birthday cakes. I got a free birthday cake on my birthday! I picked one with red roses.

Ok, now rewind [makes vinyl-record-rewinding sounds] to Monday last. It wasn't anybody in our family's birthday, but Tony had MLK day off work, so we decided to celebrate Artemas' 18th birthday a little early. I made this amazing, Amazing Fudge Tunnel Cake. Des was going to bring down a turkey to bake. Well Des and Tony ended up getting here at 7:30 PM with no turkey (it never did thaw) but with bags full of heat-n-eat hot wings, chicken tenders, french fries and stuff. So we pigged out on all that, and ate cake, which was good. We didn't get a pic of the cake, because in transferring it to a platter, Artemas dropped it. It looked like a truck ran over it. Still tasted great, though! Although I decided the recipe could use some tweaking...

Wednesday on Artemas' actual birthday we went to Dalton to order the original carpet mentioned above. The car broke down, it rained, we ended up being late to get the kids back to youth group, with $50 worth of pizzas he didn't get to share with his group. And no cake, because we weren't home since 8AM for mom to make one.

So, Thursday I made another Amazing Fudge Tunnel Cake, a la nikki, which was delicious. So here is the recipe! Enjoy!

Moist ingredients:

1+1/2 cups butter, softened
1+3/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
(or 1/2 tsp flavored extract like almond)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Dump all the moist ingredients in a bowl and mix on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Mixture will look like a fluffy pudding or mousse. While this is beating, in a separate bowl put the

Dry ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups finely ground pecans or almonds
3/4 cup cocoa powder

Dump all this about 1/3 at a time into the moist ingredients and mix thoroughly. Batter will look very thick and almost oily (that's ok!). Spoon batter into a greased & floured Bundt or Angelfood cake pan. Bake for 1 hour at 350 F. Let cool in pan at least 15 minutes, loosen cake gently around the edges with a table knife, put cake plate on top of pan and invert pan to turn cake out.

For the glaze you will need about 1/2 a jar or recipe of chocolate frosting, softened in the microwave for a minute or two or set in a bowl of warm water to thin. Pour loosely over top of cake.

A Shrug

So you know at Christmas time I was working on a wonderful, lace-back shrug in deep grape purple Australian wool. Michele in Maine sent me more of the beautiful yarn and I took the project on the road with me to FL when we went for the AMTC convention. The night before my birthday, I finished it. You can see the project with complete notes, including the lace I 'invented,' at this Ravelry link.

Even though I made the described compensation in the pattern for "large bust,"the shrug did not even meet in front by a good 12inches. I guess the girls are bigger than I thought! It fit Veronica beautifully, I could shawl-pin it in front and it looked cute on her, but she didn't like it. (Pictures were taken before ribbing was blocked.)

Then some beautiful, encouraging knitters on Twitter edified me by reminding me that a 'shrug' is back and shoulders only! I should block set the ribbing and just wear it! So I did and I like it very well!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Wordy Apology to My Readers

I lost a set of twins on Oct. 29; 8 days later was our biggest craft show of the year, in the busiest mall in Knoxville. Needless to say less than 4 days of recovery time, and then had to get ready for the show. And then, oh, we’re 3 weeks from Black Friday with 5 shops in the family to prepare.

Meanwhile one of my kids has a birthday. Parents came from Ohio do to Thanksgiving a week early (2xtra people in a 1450 sq. ft. house that already has 8 ppl living in it, LOL), then we did Thanksgiving again with my dd#1’s inlaws. Then get ready for Christmas with 7 kids, a SIL and 2 grandkids.

The 14th of Dec. they thought my dh’s 93-year-old mother was dying in NJ (a 12-hour drive) so he needed to go there… 5 kids in the car, drive 12 hours up, see mother, stay one day, drive back. Good part was we got to walk around Philly, take some pics and have a cheesesteak, LOL!

Day after Christmas my parents came from Ohio again on their way to FL for the winter, and I went with DS#1 to sign a lease on an apartment for him.

The 28th of Dec. my dh was in surgery for a double hernia when I got the call his mom had died. So we did Christmas with my parents the next day and on the 30th hit the road for NJ again, drove 12 hours and got there in time for the viewing. Funeral next day, drive home on New Years Day. We were home only 48 hours (during which said 21yos complained that I couldn’t help him move because it was SO much more important to get ready for Di’s modeling convention) before my DD#2 Diantha and I had to leave and drive almost 12 hours to FL for a modeling convention for her, and got back the 12th.

In the 12 days since I've been back, we've made 2 trips down to Dalton, GA... once to find carpet, the other to pick it up. On the first trip our car broke down. Blew a pvc valve to the heater hoses and lost all the cooling fluid out of the system. A half-mile walk to the repair place with 4 of the 5 kids (B and her daddy rode in the tow truck), 3 hours wait which included walking to a sandwich place in the rain and back, and we were back on the road.

Oh also in those 12 days, in moving furniture to help my son get the rest of his things moved out, we found mold in one of the walls of the girls' bedroom from a roof leak. We've had to quickie-paint and move both big girls into the formerly oldest son's bedroom, the size of a postage stamp, along with their queen-size bed, so that we can repair the other bedroom. Which is going to entail tearing an outside wall off the house to replace molded sheathing inside the wall, and replacing some of the wood supporting the roof.

Our Etsy shops are barely staying above water, but who has had the time or opportunity to produce new listings?

I truly feel like I’m being swept along by a spring-thaw torrent and that my feet can’t touch the bottom, haven’t touched the bottom for 3 months. I think only having my knitting to do once in a while, calms me and is keeping me sane. So I am sorry I am so behind on the blogging, and will try to keep up (now that we're HOME, LOL)!