Thursday, January 29, 2009

White Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

  • Start off by getting all your ingredients together.

We will skip the crust for now.

  • Get the cream cheese mixture all assembled and smoothly beaten.

  • Then add the pink filling to the baked crust.

  • Now add the rest of the creamcheese filling and smooth it in nicely.

  • Next add the cherry topping, carefully spreading it over the entire cake.

  • Don't forget to scrape out the bowls and lick the spatula. nummmmm

  • Place in oven to bake and test for firmness when the bell dings.

  • Remove from oven and let cool.

  • Here's your cake batt ready for you.


Coming soon to a mailbox near you.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Roc Day with pics

During a Fiber Fair I am pretty much stranded occupied in my booth. Talking to people who come to the fair and especially to those who come in to my booth is a pleasure.  This Fair was no exception.  I was delightfully busy most of the day.  

Right before we opened I was able to take few shots but after that the only break I got was when Jim relieved me for about half an hour so I could go pee, have a bite and peak in at the felting workshop.   By the time the CD with Wayne's pics arrived I was busy with getting Fondle This! out and then the service day and then the Inauguration and then Sock Hop.  So please forgive the untimeliness of this blog. (added later:  and I forgot to mention Basel's operation on his knee.  He blew out his only good one on the ice ~3 weeks ago. sheesh!)

In all past years we have held our Roc Day Fiber Fair at the Varna Community Center where we have our (Black Sheep Handspinners Guild ) meetings. Not only has our membership been growing but last year the festival was just too crowded plus the parking lot is small and if it has snow piled up is even smaller. Last winter we interviewed several possibles and came up with the First Congregational Church in Cayuga Heights, Ithaca. They have been wonderful to work with and generous with space. We rented their parish hall which came complete with 2 classrooms, a big space, lots of chairs, lots of tables, 2 bathrooms, a good sized kitchen and easy access for loading and unloading for vendors and mobility impaired visitors.

This picture was taken early, soon after we opened, showing the Caravan Farm booth and a general view.

Obviously this is Melissa Jean Designs, right near the entrance

and my booth before the fiberholics descended.

Almost every kind of wheel was represented. If you were looking for a first or second (or third) you could see many in action and probably try one out.

People came from as far as Utica and Rochester but with the approaching storm the contingent from PA stayed snugly in their state.

All through the day were spinning demos ----  Great wheels and tiny were represented.

One of our members, Bill, is an expert weaver (and knitter and spinner). He generously gave weaving demos for part of the day.

Some of the Rochester area spinners have told us our Dish to Pass is the highlight of their day. Certainly the selection of soups, chili, hot dishes and desserts are plentiful and delicious. Vicki puts it all together with a calm I could never maintain. Here she is early in the day with a couple of helpers, getting ready.  
Little did she know that later the huge crock pot of chili would have an accident.   As she was lifting it the handle broke and we had beans and sauce all over the floor.  Having no access to the Custodial closet some innovation was required.  Snow shovels were found near one of the outer doors.  I'll let you imagine the rest.

Our Featured Fiber Artist was Diane Christian (in green) who displayed her glorious felted creations in a Trunk Show in the morning and then taught wet finger felting to students later.  

The flowers were moved into a more 3D shape, allowed to dry and had pin backs added.  Diane's work and teaching were a definite hit.   There is talk of having her back in the late spring or early summer for another set of classes.

Ruth and Wayne (he is demonstrating on the great wheel above) run the Kid's Corner sessions. They are both fine educators who know that children prefer hands on learning. They had a loom ready for trying out and lots of small, easy to use items to help the kids practice sewing and weaving.

I am sorry I was given no photos of the beginning spindling session taught by Kathy H.  Kathy taught me to spindle spin so I am forever grateful to her for helping me begin my fiber addiction.

Another highlight is our Raffle.  Guild members knit and crochet items all year just for this day. Vendors are also asked to donate at least one item.  This year we had 40 to raffle off!  Hats, mittens, shawls, scarves, a boa, tote bags of stuff, kits.............  All items are first displayed on the tables.  Then numbered paper bags are hung on the front of the tables where people can place their ticket(s) into which each bag represents the item they want to win.
Here is Anne holding up a sweater I knit and Jeanne (on the left) announcing who won it.
We also make a group item.  This year it was a square lace shawl made from hand dyed fiber from member Lisa Merion, handspun by many of us and knit by our President.   Profits went to the Cortland SPCA.
As you can see the winner was both surprised and delighted.

Our committee wants to thank all of you for your participation and looks forward to another great Roc Day next January.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Community Service

Often, in between projects I make a chemo hat, or mittens to give to the mitten tree or a square for an afghan. Many of you do the same thing. I don’t regulate myself with these charity gifts but do feel better for the giving.

On January 12th I, and I'd guess a couple of million others, received a Call to Service email from Michelle Obama. In part, it said, "It will take ordinary citizens working together with a common purpose to get this country back on track. This national day of service is an important first step in our continuing commitment. Whatever service activity you organize or take part in.......... you can help start this important journey."

I knew this was sent out by a staff person, and not directly by Michelle, to those of us who helped with Obama’s campaign. What moved me were the facts that she took the time to ask and to make this well said video and that she is sincere about helping others in whatever community we are in. I thought about what I could do and realized that the best thing to do is something you are good at or have fun doing. Hence.....

I called and asked for a room at St John’s Episcopal Church, where community service is a long time tradition as Loaves & Fishes (our soup kitchen) has been functioning for over 30 years. Then I signed up at and announced the Knitting/Crocheting for the Community session for last Monday, 1/19, MKL, Jr Day.

Right away there was a big response from the internet and from my regular Knit Night group. also sent out emails linking to the site. Many people were ready to be doing something like this and grateful for the opportunity to serve.

On Monday evening, over the course of 4 hours, 24 people signed in, 14 hats and scarves were made and many other items started. We shared stash and needles and books and patterns. We helped each other learn new stitches and instructions. We ate snacks and introduced ourselves to each other. We also agreed to keep meeting monthly.

Monday night’s offerings have been taken to a rural Food Pantry for distribution.

Listening to Obama’s Inauguration speech I heard many wonderful points that are heartening but also this concept reviewed and encouraged not only by our newest president but also in the Benediction given by Reverend Lowery.

We have germinating plans for our group that go beyond just making hats. We want eventually to be teaching people to knit their own warm garments, their own dishcloths and ditty bags and to give one back to us for every one or two made. We don’t see the need for service knitting ending any time soon but we do see how we can help others to help themselves and therefore lessen the need.

"The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity, on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good." Barack Obama from his Inauguration Speech

In the mail yesterday I received an invitation to try out an ad free monthly magazine called The Sun. The invite contained samples from the magazine, one of which is the following interview.

Nothing To Lose But Our Illusions
An interview with David Edwards

David Edwards: It’s not enough to just sit there and have compassionate thoughts. Your compassionate thoughts need to be reflected in what you do. How can you aspire to compassion and yet work for an arms manufacturer? You need to help other people.

Derrick Jensen: What do you say to people who feel they are busy struggling to get by and don’t have time to help others?

Edwards: Once you start to see through the myth of status, possessions, and unlimited consumption as a path to happiness, you’ll find that you have all kinds of freedom and time. It’s like a deal you can make with the universe: I’ll give up greed for freedom. Then you can start putting your time to good use.

Jensen: And if someone says, “But the problems are so big what can one person do?”

Edwards: Once you realize that helping others is also helping yourself, the size of the overall problems becomes irrelevant. You’re not a one-man or one-woman army out to save the whole world. You help simply because it does good and it feels good.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sneak Peak

Without trying to win a contest, without doing very much really, Nancy McK won the prize for getting me to knit on something other than the Sipalu. For about 2 days, off and on, I spun and then knit this. ( It is about a third done).

Actually Nancy knit the original and shared it. I then offered to be the test knitter and editor for the pattern.

Can you guess just what about this got me away from the Sipalu?

It was

Coming soon to a website near you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I have an addictive personality.   Cigarettes were inhaled from age 15 to 24 when I gave them up while I was pregnant.  It was a struggle for over a year to stay away from cigs.  Now that we know so much more about the damage they do I am very glad I quit.

However cigarettes were exchanged for food.  Once that tobacco metabolic enhancer was out of my system and not taking up possible eating time, well.....  Let's just say I keep losing and finding the same pounds over and over again.

Knitting can also be addictive, as can spinning.  These, by comparison, seem to be rather healthy ones. They also cut down on possible eating time.  Mostly this is controlled addiction.  I take the knitting everywhere but it is not usually an obsession (at least I don't think so). Then along came the Sipalu Bag.

I was warned, but until the lovely thing had a real hold on me I was in Egypt.  Now I have to ration my time with it or I get nothing done.  It is used as a carrot.  It is used as a reward.  One round or one row.  That's it.   Well..... I try to make it only one but you see this is just like trying to eat only one potato chip.

The laundry is not done.  I am behind on dyeing.  The dishwasher needs to be turned on.  The shop needs to be put back to rights after its Roc Day outing.  But the Sipalu, it continues to grow.

I have even tried to distract myself by starting another simpler project but just cannot get past looking at patterns and stash.

No matter, the Sipalu has a life of its own.  This is not social knitting. It needs complete concentration or a stitch in the chart is missed. Now that the second front has been begun (or is it the back?) I am wondering what I will do without it. Will I have withdrawal problems?  Can it be replaced with something not quite so all consuming?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sipalu Bag

Jim had already gotten me, for my birthday, the dupes of the Harmony needles and cords I asked for so I was not expecting even more knitting goodies.  AND since he lives with me he is somewhat aware of my stash and certainly cognizant of the yarn and fiber in my shop at my disposal.
Much to my surprise this was wrapped for me to open on Christmas Day.  He's definitely a keeper.

There are 17 balls of soft Peruvian Highland fingering weight yarn. 17!  More than enough for 2 bags, maybe even three. Look at all those shades!  I wanted to drop everything, forget the rest of the holiday, and start the bag immediately.  

We were imagining my using the bag some day, once it was completed (this is not a fast project). Realization set in that, what with my profession and the potential beauty/attraction of this bag,  something of mine, at least some of the bag, should be knit with my dyed and/or hand spun fibers.  Good idea, so I reached into a couple of handy baskets and rearranged the pallette.

I just switched out a few balls for some of my own.  top row:  hand spun smokeyblue, palette, hand spun angora/merino; next row: hand spun merino/silk, palette,  hand spun blueberry bfl; then all the rest are palette except for the ball of hand dyed blueberry angora/merino yarn
(and since this was taken have switched even more).

The instructions leave a bit to be desired so I would not rec'd this pattern for a beginner. It incorporates lots of knitting methods: following a fair isle chart - both knit and purl plus in the round; picking up teeny stitches and knitting them together with those on another #2 needle; casting on in the midst of the project; increasing and decreasing plus more.

Once I got this far, a simple 12 stitch repeat,  I realized that the main chart would need to be either recolored or redone in Knit Visualizer.  Colored pencils are my specialty but overcoloring the oranges turned the lighter purples an odd shade. So I spent a couple of delightful hours with the software recreating the original chart into this.Much better now. This is an 80 stitch by 40 row chart for the main part of the bag that is repeated 3 more times as you knit around.  The entire chart will be done twice, once for each side.

Once I got the 240 side panel stitches picked up and incorporated into the tube section that separates the parts I was ready to begin the fun stuff.
Many many thank you's to Audible and Apple (iPod and iBook) for my entertainment while knitting this fantastic project and also for helping me pleasantly through all the holiday knitting.
Have you noticed the little stitch markers? Myveryownsister gave me those for Christmas. We exchange chinese themed items often as they are happy symbols from our childhood. Our father always brought home chinese food when one of us was sick.  He also played cards once a week with his cronies while their spouses played mah jongg. I remember being allowed to stab the marachino cherries with a toothpick and place them on the pineapple slices for snack time. As I got older my mother let me decorate even more, eventually culminating in the dangerous job of peeling and slicing the fresh pineapple. Those stitch markers are miniature mah jongg tiles. This particular one is called 3 dot.

The bag is calling to me.  See ya later.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Roc Day Fiber Fair

I will be vending next Saturday at our annual Roc Day Fiber Festival.

Trunk Show of the amazing creative wet and needle felted work by Diane Christian.
Workshops include:
2 wet felting sessions with Diane Christian.  Make a flower pin.
$25 includes supplies.  Classes are limited to 10 people each, so first come first served.  One early afternoon, one 1.5 hours later.
1 large Beginning Spindling class with Kathy Halton.  $5, and again first come, first served but there are 20 spaces in this hour long class.

1-From Downtown Ithaca, Elmira and the South:
Take NY Route 13 North to the exit for Triphammer Road.
Exit onto Triphammer Road and turn right (south).
Follow directions in #3.

2-From Cortland, Dryden and the North:
Take NY Route 13 South to the exit for Triphammer Road.
Exit onto Triphammer Road and turn left (south).
Follow directions in #3.

3-Drive about 0.6 mile to the first STOP sign.
Note the small blue sign: First Congregational Church -- UCC.
Following the sign, turn right onto Hanshaw Road.
Drive about 0.8 mile, and note the large elementary school on the left.
Just past the school, note the small blue sign, and bear left onto Highland Avenue.
Drive about 0.5 mile, and the church is on the left.
Turn left into the access road, then right into driveways.
1st driveway: wheelchair access (take elevator to main floor)
2nd driveway: main parking lot

The Roc Day celebration is being held in the parish hall which is on the lower level, please park in the upper lot and follow the signs to the red door. Go down the stairs and turn right down the hall. Mobility impaired parking and entrance is the lower parking lot.

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Place Holder

My apologies. Things are so busy right now that I have not had a chance to do justice to the incredible present received from Jim.  I promise to get it posted this weekend.

Meanwhile the four footed fuzzies have asked for some space.

Thank you's go to our Auntie Ellen in Rhode Island. We love your gifts.

from Max, who is really in this picture, not photoshopped.

Then Sparkles insisted we show you how he spends a snowy day.