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Archive for December, 2011



December 16: Do you see what I see?
Friday, December 16th, 2011

Early in November I sat down with my long time salesman Dave and started thinking spring. Yes, spring. Here we are in up to our eyeballs in the holidays and getting ready to roll into the snow season and I’m all about spring. That’s just how things work around here.
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Some things are just too good to keep to yourself, so Dave agreed to come back on Thursday, December 29throw.jpg and give you a personal spring preview! You too can play yarn shop owner for a day, and flip through the entire collections from Classic Elite Yarns, Colinette, Crystal Palace and more.

In addition, he will be bringing fabulous hand dyed throw kits from Mountain Colors Yarn. He will have them on hand to take home with you, or if you don’t see your color we can order whatever you want.

The sneak preview will begin at 10am on the Thursday following Christmas and will continue until 1pm. Naturally you’re welcome to sit and knit with us in the afternoon. It should be a really fun time!

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basket.jpgSpring yarns will be arriving shortly after the new year. Mark your calendars for Friday, March 2 from 4-9 for the Spring Yarn Tasting. Don’t worry if you forget, you know I will be reminding you!

We also will host another knit-a-long for spring and will be giving away another gift basket valued at over $100. Details on that coming soon.

If that’s not enough, we have eleven trunk shows from Classic Elite scheduled beginning in February and continuing through May. It is going to be a busy spring!

If you’re just now getting around to the winter state of mind, don’t worry. We are still all about winter, just anxiously looking ahead to another fantastic spring season. The Toboggan Trunk Show arrived yesterday and it is fabulous. In case you can’t come check it out in person, I made a little movie of the design collection for this fabulous winter yarn.



December 15: Buon Natale!
Thursday, December 15th, 2011

italy.jpgI’m getting ready for our store Christmas party this weekend. This year I have decided to host it at mia casa. Instead of preparing a more traditional dinner, I have opted to go Italian this year.

Honestly, I’d invite all of you over but fitting my staff and their guests into my tiny house is going to be tricky. We’re expecting a very cozy evening. I think I have it planned out so that no one has to sit on anyone’s lap pending no unexpected attendees. I think Anna took pity on me and willed her appendix to give out. Way to take one for the home team! I owe you one, Anna.

So for my much appreciated team, I will be preparing my Manicotti rolled in crêpes this year. It is delicious! It makes enough to feed a small army, so I usually divide it into two to three dinners, freeze the unbaked pans and save them for another meal. Gotta dig that.

Today I will share my recipe with you!123.jpg
Manicotti

Sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1, 6oz can tomato paste
2T chopped parsley
1T sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1T chopped fresh basil (or 1t dried)
1T chopped fresh oregano (or 1t dried)
35oz canned tomatoes (I usually buy a mix of crushed and fine diced)
1T salt
1/4t pepper

Heat oil in medium stock pot. Sauté onions for 5 minutes, add garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.

Filling
2lbs ricotta cheese
8oz mozarella, freshly grated
1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated plus 2 cups for assembly (you can’t have too much cheese!)
2 eggs
1t salt
1/4t pepper
1T chopped parsley

Combine all filling ingredients, beating with a wooden spoon to blend.

Manicotti
6 eggs (room temperature)
1/2t salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups water

Combine all manicotti ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat with electric mixer until smooth. Let stand for at least 30 minutes.

Heat small crêpe pan over medium heat. Pour 3T of batter, rotating quickly to evenly cover pan. Cook until top is dry, but do not brown bottom. Let cool on wire rack. Stack partially cooled crêpes layered with squares of waxed paper.

and if your family is like mine and whines “where’s the beef?”…
Hamburger
Add 1T olive oil and 1/4 cup fine chopped onions to medium skillet. Sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add a clove of crushed garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add 1lb lean hamburger and brown. Drain grease, then add to sauce.

Preheat oven to 350º. Spoon 1 1/2 cups sauce into each of 2 baking dishes (13×9). Spread 1/4 cup of filling in center of each manicotti, roll up, and place in baking dishes seam side down in a single layer. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour.

bread.jpgWhile it is always nice to use fresh herbs, I have made this many times with dried and it is still delicious. Serve with the Braided Italian Loaf. Magnifico!

If the crêpes sound fussy to make, they sure beat the heck out of stuffing regular manicotti noodles. That is for the birds! It is way easier to flip a crêpe than fool with stuffing noodles. Trust me.

If it all sounds just to fussy to make and I’ve made you hungry for manicotti, come up to Guthrie and go eat at Roma’s. We have a fabulous Italian restaurant. Their manicotti is quite delicious. Not as delicious as mine, but delicious by any other standard. The owners are from Milan so it is an authentic experience. I especially love their bread!

Buon Appetito!



December 14: Meet Anna
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

anna.jpgAnna is like a jack of all trades when it comes to being crafty. She knits. She crochets. She spins, weaves, sews, embroiders, can do finger weaving, tats…and in her spare time plays the dulcimer.

If you haven’t seen her around the shop lately it is only because she has been having some health problems. She recently was diagnosed with diabetes.

We were hoping to feature her spinning along with our other Victorian Walk demonstrators, but she wound up in the ER this weekend with appendicitis. So she’s currently laid up at Baptist Hospital recovering. Hopefully she’ll get back on her feet in time for her Christmas festivities.

One of my favorite Anna stories happened not too long ago. We’ve had issues with partial power outages in the shop in the past (old buildings, whadda ya do?), so the other day when we were only partially lit I started running around like a chicken with my head cut off.freak.jpg

Unlike ordinarily power outages, being “half lit” can fry all of your electronics so my panic was somewhat justified. I wanted to call OG&E but started freaking when I realized that no power = no internet. DUH!

During the middle of my antics, Anna quietly sat watching me. She then slowly reached over, picked up the phonebook, flipped a few pages to find their number and said “you could look in the phone book.” Score one for the lo tech! A phone book. Who knew?

Since her home is now occupied by two diabetics, Anna has had to make adjustments to her menu selections. Even diabetics want to enjoy dessert every now and then, so she came up with this easy recipe for Chocolate Pudding Pie. Even her mom said she liked it, so that must mean it is good. I’m sure many of you can relate to that.

Anna’s Chocolate Pudding Pie
1 graham cracker pie crust
2 pkgs of Jello Instant sugar free chocolate pudding mix
1, 2 oz pkg of sliced almonds
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Follow instructions on pudding mix for the 2 pkg pudding pie filling.

Before putting the mixed pudding into the pie crust, add 1/2 of the pkg of almonds to the pudding mix and pour into the pie shell. Sprinkle the rest of the almonds on top.

Serve with whipped cream…. or the sugar free Cool Whip

Since my recipes are usually anything BUT diet friendly, I thought you’d enjoy this for a change.



December 13: Holiday Coping Tips
Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

relatives.jpgSometimes I think the holidays can be as stressful as they are enjoyable - especially when you throw relatives in the mix. If you happen to be someone with relatives that are totally pleasant 100% of the time you are either the luckiest person in the world, are in denial, or have no relatives.

Personally I find humor is the best way to cope. If you can’t change situations and people, either find a way to laugh about it or find something else totally hilarious to laugh at.

Here are a few of my favorite reads that will totally crack you up.
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Author David Thorne is absolutely hilarious. Words can’t do this man justice, other than to say he is a master at annoying his co-workers, neighbors, and just about anyone else who has something stupid to say to him.

Some of my favorites are Missing Missy, where a coworker asks him to make a poster for her missing cat and Ten Formal Complaints in Six Months, which anyone with office coworkers will totally appreciate. Oh, and there is also Dear Neighbour, you are not invited to my Party. Hilarious!
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My next suggestion comes with a warning that it may not be suitable for all audiences. If your dad is anything like my dad, then this won’t phase you one bit. One of those ratings boxes should pop up each time he opens his mouth

dad.jpg$#*! My Dad Says
not to be confused with the TV show. This is a guy who started tweeting his dad’s hilarious rants, advice, and other sayings and before you know it had a zillion followers. His dad is so funny, and despite his often crude way of putting things is usually right! There was no way you could portray this unscripted man in a prime time TV show, so the sitcom was doomed to fail.

His son doesn’t tweet very often, but when he does it is always a treat. His dad’s latest rant on people who anonymously say nasty things to others on the internet is priceless.

As a person somewhat in the public eye, I sure could relate. I just figure that people who have no sense of humor must need to randomly be nasty to others. I figure that if hurling their nastiness at me keeps them from spreading their grinchiness to other unsuspecting souls then I am in a small way doing a public service.

If you’re not into Twitter, you can also check him out on Facebook.
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mason.jpgAnd sometimes holiday hilarity can be found in odd places. I’ll never forget when I was pregnant with Mason, we were at the obgyn. While doing his thing, Dr. K leaned over to Keith and said:

You know what the best kind of Christmas lights are? The relatives’ tail lights as they’re leaving the driveway.

We still get a kick out of that.
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So what absolutely cracks you up? I don’t think you can have TOO much laughter, especially this time of year.

Please share any nonpolitical suggestions - there is a fine line between funny and a big-ugly-cat-fight where that is concerned. Peace and joy is our goal after all.



December 12: The Nutcracker
Monday, December 12th, 2011

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I love the ballet, which is especially odd considering I am a ballet school dropout. I think I went to maybe 3 classes before coming to the conclusion that the instructors were completely inept because they’d yet to teach me to do the splits. So I started hiding parts of my costume under the seat of the car for the remainder of the classes. Mom kept dragging me there, at least until she got the cute picture of me in a tutu.
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It has been ages since I’ve been to the ballet. This year I was determined my guys were taking me to see The Nutcracker.

I was first in line (well in line, online) to get tickets back in September and managed to snag the very center of the lower orchestra section, 2nd row. Yes, the row with the extra leg room. Yeah for me!

I was fully expecting heckling, especially from the big fella but surprisingly enough they BOTH enjoyed it. They liked it so much I am getting us tickets for The Wizard of Oz.

usballet.jpgIf you have not seen The Nutcraker before, GO! It is fabulous. They’ve totally redone the arrangement and choreography and it is marvelous, of course. So if you haven’t seen it recently I highly recommend seeing it again. It isn’t too late, but next weekend is your last chance until next year.

Yes, that’s me rockin’ my hand knit capelet. My little black dress is perfect for accessorizing with all my different capelets and cowls. I represented the knitters well at the ballet.

So today I became inspired to share with all of you my intarsia pattern for The Nutcracker. Yes, I already know what you’re thinking.

#1 You’ve got to be kidding me…Yes, I know it is not easy to knit
#2 I don’t need a sweater for an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party…in my defense I designed most of these nearly 20 years ago when picture sweaters were all the rage. Sizing was also extremely oversized back then too, so no these were not intended of plus sized folk. And by the time you get it finished they’ll be back in style again.
#3 You mean these went out of style?…Yes, I know. Ignore those covered in #2. People who continue to be festive despite what the current style police dictate are alright with me.

Better get your pattern today for it will be gone tomorrow!



December 11: Meet Lori
Sunday, December 11th, 2011

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We’ve known Lori for more years than I can remember. She’s been threatening to come work for us when she retired. Well, she retired in May, this summer we took her up on the deal and it’s been a barrel of fun ever since!

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mule.jpgIf you’re at Lori’s house on Christmas pull up a chair and get ready for the annual viewing of A Christmas Story. There’s something else you need to know. On Christmas morning whatever you do, DO NOT look at the tree until mom (aka Lori)
turns its lights on. Then and only then can you look at the tree.

And don’t go running for your stocking just yet. The kids must go first. Not sure if the “kids” are limited to Owen & Sam, or if Max, Lucas and Jasmine count too. (Max, Lucas, and Jasmine are their mules)
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Animals are definitely front and center at Lori’s house. Lori’s a former biology teacher who has worked with animals her whole life, and her husband is retired from the OKC Zoo.

When she first started working for us this snake went “missing” in her house while snake sitting for a friend. And no, she wasn’t freaked about it at all. He eventually slithered out of hiding so he could go home.

Lori has a great recipe and knitting pattern to share with everyone today!

Shortbread

2 cups flour
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup butter

Sift together sugar and flour
Add butter and mix until crumbly

Work into a ball and kneed for 10 minutes.

Pat into 12×9 ungreased pan about 1/4 inch thick.
Bake 30 minutes at 300.

Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar

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Super Easy Headbands

Size 10.5 needles
Gauge - approximately 3sts per inch

CO 7 stitches
Rows 1-2–3: Knit
Row 4 & all even rows: Knit first 3 stitches, purl till last 3 stitches, knit last three stitches
Row 5: Knit
Row 7 & all increase rows: Knit first 3 sts, knit into front and back of next stitch (Kf&b), knit until 4 stitches left, knit into front and back of stitch (Kf&b), knit last 3 sts. (9 stitches total) Note: on first row of increase, you will need to Kf&b of the 1st of the last 3 stitches
Row 9–11: knit
Row 13: Increase see instructions for row 7 (11 sts)
Rows 15–17-19: Knit
Row 21: Increase (13 sts)
Rows 23–25–27–29: Knit
Row 31: Increase (15 sts)
Rows 33–35–37–39–41–43–45–47–49: Knit
Row 51 & all Decrease rows: K3, knit 2 stitches together (K2tog), knit till last 4 stitches, knit 2 stitches together (K2tog), k3 (13 sts)
Row 53–55–57–59: Knit
Row 61: Decrease (11 sts)
Row 63–65–67: Knit
Row 69: Decrease (9 sts)
Row 71–73: Knit
Row 75: Decrease (7 sts) (Note: on this decrease row, K3tog once, instead of K2tog twice)
Row 77: Knit
Row 79: Knit
Row 80: Knit
Row 81: Knit
Bind off (BO)

Finishing
Use tail from cast on to make a button loop on cast on edge.
Sew on one button close to cast off edge, and one a little further in on the headband to give adjustable sizes.
Add embellishments like buttons or flowers if desired.
Finished measurements – 17” x 5” (approx.)

If you haven’t met Lori yet, you’re in for a treat. Her enthusiasm is contagious!



December 10: Kick up your heels!
Saturday, December 10th, 2011

You’ll want to kick up your heels with joy when you see this really cool new pattern we have for you today.

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These furry boot cuffs work up in a flash! Download the Boot Cuffs pattern today, for it will be gone tomorrow. Okay, not exactly gone - just not available for free anymore.



December 9: Oh Christmas Tree?
Friday, December 9th, 2011

This is the time of year that towns and organizations put their best foot forward and erect the annual Holiday Christmas Tree.

There’s Rockefeller Center…
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and the White House…
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even Congress managed to get something done and put up their tree…
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our little town of Guthrie decorates the tree in front of the post office…
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When we first moved here the school children decorated this tree with birdseed ornaments. It was darling. I’m not sure who has taken over but I’m thinking it is time for the school kids to take it back.

The sad thing is they had a Christmas season kick off and gathered around for a lighting of the tree. I especially like the white extension cords hanging everywhere.

Fortunately this is not representative of the Victorian Walk Celebration that starts tomorrow night. We start the fun at 2pm with our Holiday Party & Cookie Exchange. Victorian Walk starts at 5 and continues until 9. Donna Hilton from the Weavery at Indian Meridian will be here spinning as part of our window display.

Hope you enjoyed today’s laugh and come see us tomorrow if you can. The tree is even more enjoyable in person.



December 8: Meet Laura
Thursday, December 8th, 2011

laura.jpgI am so fortunate to have such a fabulous team of folks working with me. This year I called upon them to share a bit of Christmas Cheer with you too.

Laura has taught classes here for years and is one of the most creative people I know. She has an eye for color, and a knack for selecting fantastic projects. You’ll usually find her wearing one of her creations.

You might remember a few years back Laura’s home burned down. This is such a loss for anyone, but considering the vast collection of her original creations (knitwear, art, rughooking, quilts) it was especially heartbreaking. She lost much of her collection.

Our favorite story from the fire is the night before her daughter-in-law to be left her wedding dress at Laura’s house. Her father smoked and she didn’t want it to smell like smoke. The very next day the house burned and by some miracle the dress was spared.

I’m not the only chef around here - Laura is also a wonderful cook. Today she is sharing one of her favorite recipes with everyone.

Cinnamon Chip Muffins
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2 cups Bisquick
1/3 cup sugar
2T vegetable oil
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup Hershey Cinnamon Chips
2/3 cup milk

Heat oven to 400º. Line muffin pan.

Combine all ingredients until just moistened. Pour batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.

Bake 15-18 minutes until just browned. Makes 12 muffins.

Find out more about Laura, along with the rest of our team at our new redesigned website.



December 7: Insta-Gift
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Need a quick and inexpensive gift for friends, co-workers, teachers & such? I can help you out.

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This fun mug cozy is a giant chunky cable! It is so quick to knit, you can make several while you watch TV.

Fill a colorful mug with candy-chocolate-whatever, wrap it with this funky cozy and you’ll have a really cute & unique gift!

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Make it a bit longer and it becomes a headband. I was able to get 2 cozies and 2 headbands out of a single skein of Toboggan.

button.jpgIf you come in and purchase a skein of Toboggan to make these with, we’ll throw in a Christmas Tree button for free.

I’d say “while quantities last”, but I don’t there’s any danger of selling out. For some unknown reason we have a ridiculous amount of Christmas tree buttons - probably more than we have skeins of Toboggan and we have a bunch of Toboggan!

Today’s gift is the Cabled Cozy & Headband pattern. Download it today for it will be gone tomorrow. Whoosh, it’s gone. Patterns are available for purchase at SWAK.