Friday, December 05, 2008


This week has been a little bit difficult for me -- trying to buy a larger vehicle (and running into stupid problems that shouldn't be an issue), running extra errands, having trouble sleeping, combating with crazy nesting instinct, not being able to accomplish much homeschool with the children (for the above reasons)...

I had scheduled my monthly spinning Friday for today a few weeks ago, but as this week unfolded, I started to feel that panic that often threatens to grip me as a new baby gets ready to arrive. "I can't do it, I can't do it, I can't do it" was oft repeated in my head, even as I accomplished each task. Looking around my disheveled house, I felt certain that I should cancel Spinning Friday...but then I realized something. I need Normal Life to continue. I need things to look forward to each day. I need something to clean my house for. I want to have people to bake and cook for (besides my children).

I'm sitting here now in my tidy house; everyone from the spinning group has gone, the children are in their quiet times or naptimes, and I am so glad that I decided to keep the date. I feel refreshed by the visit with the other ladies, successful to have managed to clean the house and bake, and all together satisfied and pleased with the day.

For every spinning event that I hold at my house, I bake something special for everyone to eat when they walk in the door -- the last two times was cinnamon rolls (from a fantastic recipe at Bon Appetit that actually produces light, soft rolls!), so this time I made Baked Donuts.

For my kids, the best part was the donut holes:

Recipe found at 101cookbooks with a few modifications: I threw everything into my bread machine -- all the liquid first, then all the dry, just as I do with my bread. The recipe calls for 5 cups flour, but I used 5-1/2 because the dough was too sticky. 1-1/2 cups of the total flour was whole wheat, which didn't weigh the finished product down at all. I actually might try substituting a cup more next time. I also doubled the cinnamon in the cinnamon-sugar topping, and actually would up it to a whole tablespoon next time, because I loved the extra flavor.

I made up the dough last night, shaped it, and then put it on parchment paper-lined panes, wrapped it in saran wrap and then put a layer of aluminum foil over all to ensure that they didn't dry out overnight. This morning, I proofed them in a slightly warm oven with a bowl of hot, freshly boiled water sitting below them.

Instead of sliding the parchment paper onto pre-heated baking stones like I do when I bake cookies and muffins, I chose to leave them on the pans this time, and the texture was lighter and more pleasing than when I'd used stones another time. Overall, I was very happy with them, and will make them again. Plus, anything that can be prepped the night before and needs only to be slid into the oven in the morning is great to me. Feels like I didn't even have to do anything, yet I can still eat freshly baked deliciousness!

Moving on to more fibrous talk, I finally cut this off the loom:

(For details on EPI, etc. visit the Ravelry page)

I decided to experiment with a bit of tone-on-tone embroidery at the one end, and free-handed a little flower.

I certainly wasn't perfect by the end, but you can see the learning curve in the selvedges by looking at the first few inches:

Even though it's far from perfect, I enjoyed the process, and I think the finished product is not too bad. The shifting blues are pleasing (thanks to the Bluegrass Franquemont Fibers Batt I spun the weft from), and the drape and hand of the fabric is lovely. (By the way, I did iron the piece, but from the looks of the above photo I can see that I could have used a heavier hand!) I'm going to send this to my grandma for Christmas, and I know that she'll cherish it always. Because, you know, grandmas are cool like that. (Plus, she looks fantastic in these colors.)

Now Sparky and Max want scarves, so I was thinking of using up the rest of the handspun from their hats...I just might warp the Cricket tonight. If I don't, I'll have to answer to Sparky tomorrow, I'm sure.
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