Sunday, November 27, 2011

Homemade Gravy, Gluten Free

Sometimes when roasting meats you end up with more drippings and juices than you can use to make gravy for the meal. That is what happened with my Thanksgiving turkey meal. So I saved the remaining juices in the fridge until it was time to reheat the leftovers of the meal. This can be done with a Beef roast as well. More on this at the bottom.

The juices formed two layers, the top is fat and the bottom is broth. I removed the hardened fat and placed in a container to use later for frying potato pancakes in. 

The broth gels in the fridge but melts to a liquid fast.

While it is starting to simmer, mix one and a half Tablespoons of gluten free Corn Starch in a cup of Cold Water. Once the broth has reduced slightly, slowly pour the corn starch water mix into the broth and stir constantly. Bring back to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Stirring helps to keep it from getting lumpy.
When the gravy thickens remove from heat. It will thicken more as it cools.

When I have leftovers I try to package them up in single servings to either freeze or put in the fridge.
I used foil for these since I no longer have a microwave oven. The meal goes in the oven at 325 degrees F while I am making the gravy. I will have to invest in some single serving size glass bakeware to cut down on waste.
 Pour gravy over your meal and enjoy.
I like freshly made gravy over whipped potatoes and turkey.

You can either put this onto a plate or save the clean up time and eat it like a TV dinner.
Making your own gravy is not only easy and fresh, you know what is in it and often times it is healthier for you and it tastes great.

To get the most out of your roast drippings, pour all (if any) liquids into a container. There will most likely be some browned drippings stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan. These often times pack the most flavor. Pour a cup or two of hot water in the pan and use a spatula or fork to scrape the bottom of the pan and this will help to clean your roasting pan later. Once everything is off the bottom add this to the other liquids.

If you have used any oil or butter on the meat you are roasting the fat content will be higher which is why I will put it in the fridge and make gravy later. The fat is easier to remove once it firms up.

The gravy I have made is very simple and needs no other ingredients. However, there are some times that I will add different things like a red or white wine or sherry, Worchestershire sauce, cream and/or other flavorings. I never salt or pepper the gravy. More than enough comes off the meat while roasting and adding it to the gravy will take away from the natural flavorings not enhance it. When there is black pepper in a gravy it makes me wonder if the cook is trying to hide something. Salt and pepper are best left added by the person consuming since each person has different likes and dietary needs.

Many people use all purpose flour to thicken their gravy. Gravy made with flour can also be delicious but since my new son can not have gluten I will be using corn starch for gravies.
I also prefer using REAL instant potato flakes to make a gravy for pork roasts. Some people use the water from boiling potatoes as a thickener.

So my Dear ones, if you have broth or stock left over from cooking, please do not pour it down the drain. Put it in a jar or container and either freeze it or put it in the fridge and make gravy with it.
During the depression and WW2 our family would pour gravy over a slice of bread for a meal. They would make sure the gravy drippings had lots of meat chunks in it for protein. Cream was added as well, for calcium and protein, not to mention flavor. The gravy would help revive stale bread in those days. Those were the "shingle" days.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Making Decorations For The Wedding Reception

My oldest daughter is getting married this Friday and I have volunteered to help with the decorations. Okay, it was more like I insisted.
I have been busy with this so I haven't had much time to blog lately.
For the reception hall I want to make two decorative trees that will have lights on them.
Since love is the theme here, my daughter helped me decide on making hearts.

I was thinking about making the hearts with paper mache but I realized I don't have enough time for that so I decided to use Sculpey clay. I had two of my dear friends come over and help me make the hearts. They rolled the clay to form two long "snakes" and then twisted them together, this represents two hearts as one.

 Then we shaped them into hearts and set on foil lined baking sheets. I poked a hole at the top of the heart for hanging them and to attach a crystal in the middle.
When we got them all done they when into the oven to bake and harden.
Here is what they looked like right from the oven.

Then I painted them white.
This next picture is with one unpainted next to one painted.

I used acrylic paint because it dries fast.
After I got both side of the hearts painted I brushed white glue on them with a small paint brush and sprinkled clear crystal glitter on them.

Now we are ready for the crystals.
The crystals are being recycled from an old chandelier that was no longer functional. Most of them are the squares with the rectangle prism. There were only three with the circle on top.

I separated the squares and removed the metal wire. Then I recycled old fishing line to hang the squares inside the hearts.

I have made 44 of these and they will hang on two small trees. I will post more on the trees and decorations after the wedding complete with photos.
Until then, thank you for stopping by.

Dee Dee

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Red Heart Soft yarn Android Hat

I saw this pattern a while back and recently a friend asked me to make this for him. So off I went to the store to buy the yarn. It is Red Heart Soft. And this time I think Red Heart got it right. This yarn is soft. Not the softest ever, but much nicer than their Super Saver yarn.
It is a very easy yarn to work with.

It is a very fast hat to crochet and sew together.
Here it is before the arms get sewed on.
Since I started this one I have gotten a request for another. 
It's a fun project and I recommend it to anyone looking for a neat present to give an android enthusiast this winter.
The pattern was easy to understand and it is a great beginner project.

One thing that would top this off is a matching neck cowl!

Thanks to BagleyBiker and thank you for stopping by

Dee Dee

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pre-Filter Your Water

Many people send a lot of money for a good water filter for camping and emergencies. Some of those filters are really great and can filter out the smallest of particles.
I am no expert at water filtration devices. I leave that to my friend Steve Spence at
He has so much information on his site regarding eco-friendly solutions to reduce energy consumption and more.

If you have a Berkey water filter, or any other type of filter, you want it to last as long as possible. A good way to extend the life of your water filter is to pre-filter the water.

In case you haven't noticed this about me, I like to find other uses for things I have.
I have some non-electric drip coffee "makers" that I use to filter so much more than coffee.

I use the white ceramic one for filtering hot bacon grease and for filtering maple tree sap for making syrup. The center is a reusable filter that I am not impressed with and don't recommend. The paper filters are natural non-bleached and thou I like environmentally healthy things, these impart a flavor that is less than desirable. I would go with the bleached ones for making coffee or filtering water.
The dark plastic one is what I have for my survival pack.
It is very durable and light weight and I don't have to worry about it shattering.

I use this to pre-filter water before using my other water filters. If you don't have any paper filters you can either use a clean T-shirt or a clean sock in place of the paper. Even if your clothes are not clean, hopefully you will be running it through a better filter to take out the rest of the nasties. Just think hard before using a dirty sock, please. I can't guarantee THAT won't impart a less than desirable taste. And isn't the point of filtering water partly for a refreshing drink or preparing tasty food?

Okay, just get some good paper filters and leave your socks out of it.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

The Firefly Emerges With A Hand Drill

Making a fire may be the most important survival skill one can possess.
I have seen people start fire with a many different techniques, the simplest being a lighter, but I wanted to test an idea I had using the hand drill from my survival pack.
So here I present to you, with pictures, the results of my test.

Here is the hand drill.

I collected tinder of milkweed silk, birch bark, dried pine needles and shredded soft wood.
The pine needles and shredded wood are in there.

Then I took a twig that was dried, strong enough and small enough to fit into the drill and used my knife to make a point on it, put it in the drill and tightened it in.
Try to find one that is fairly straight.

You can use your knife to make a slight indentation on your flat wood so that the tip of the twig doesn't dance around. Since I used a thin top piece and a thicker bottom piece of wood I stuck some tinder between the two pieces of wood before I started drilling.
Under this top thin wood strip is birch bark. Below that is milkweed silk, pine needles and some wood shavings. I had to push out the milkweed silk from near the drilling point as the silk would wrap around the  wooden stick and insulate it, keeping it from getting hot enough. I held the top piece of wood in place by placing my foot on the far end of it.
You can see how the drill heats the wood and the charred shavings around the beginning of the hole. What I didn't catch on camera is the smoke it made. The stick ended up boring a hole through the top layer and then down to the bottom layer. It did take a few times to get the kindling to finally spark, I spent about 20 minutes with this first attempt.
The birch bark really made the fire take off. It didn't give me any time to capture the smoking before igniting.
I did this test in my garage since it is a windy day and I didn't want to start fire to the neighborhood. After it started I dumped it on the bare garage floor, I sure hope my husband doesn't mind the scorch mark. Ooops! 
Here you can see the several indents on the larger board from moving the drill around. I am not sure which one actually sparked the fire. I am pretty sure that the wood shavings are what caught fire first and then the rest of the kindling made it burst. Be careful with the tip of the drill stick, it gets very hot and can burn you even if it doesn't look hot or is smoking.

An additional note on milkweed silk.
Milkweed silk will ignite almost like black powder, with a burst! Use extreme care when using it for tinder. It also has an insulation property that is said to be warmer than goose down. It was used for life jackets during WW2 as one pound can keep a 100 to 150 pound man afloat for a few hours.
Milkweed is vital to monarch butterflies, so if you are going to use some for kindling please take the seeds off the silk first and spread them where they can grow uninterrupted. I collect the seed pods before they open and release the seeds so that I can contain the seeds and plant them where I want them for the butterflies.
The stem of milkweed is a wonderful source for cordage. It makes a very strong twine when spun right.
The sappy milk is said to be a great remedy for poison ivy.

Kindling will vary on where you are. Get to know some of the native plants in your area so that you won't be drilling for nothing.

So in conclusion the hand drill; worked to start a fire, was fairly fast, was a bit of a lower arm workout, and can be used for more than just the purpose of drilling holes. I am very glad that I decided to get one for my survival pack.

If you have ever used a bow drill for starting a fire, this should be a piece of cake for you.
I hope this has been helpful to you. I find a campfire to be very cozy especially with some fish planked next to it and some camp bread slowly roast over it.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dehydrating Tomatoes For Tomato Powder

As the tomato season draws to a close for us here, many of us are busy canning. Making homemade spaghetti sauces, salsas, pizza sauce, tomato sauce, paste, juice, soup. Those are all wonderful ways to store up food for the winter, but I also like to have dehydrated ones for making tomato powder.

I wash and then cut the tomatoes. This first batch I sliced removed the seeds. There was a little over one cup of tomato dices and I placed them on parchment paper on a baking sheet, sprinkled a little sea salt on them and placed in the oven at 175 degrees F. I do not use any oil on these when they are for making tomato powder. I started them with the door propped open. This is good in my area today as the outside temps are getting chilly.

Half way through the process I peeled the tomatoes off of the parchment paper and flipped them. Most of them came free from the paper fairly easily but some stuck a little bit.

They are starting to get dark. A taste of a piece showed me that the tomato flavor gets more robust as it dries. They dried dark brown and they snapped in half rather than bend.

The tomatoes should be thoroughly dehydrated so that there is no moisture left and I put them in a grinder. I have a Magic Bullet blender and I use that with the whipping/grinding blade to make powder.

I started with a overly full cup of chopped tomatoes and ended with 1/8 of a cup of tomato powder at a fraction of the original weight. I would say it took about 9 hours from start to finish, but my furnace never came on the whole time. I really would have liked to have the oven completely full, but I used what I had.
You can store this powder in either glass jars or plastic baggies. Keep away from humidity and light. It stores a long, long time. The amount of time depends on who you ask and the condition you store it in and if it was completely dried before you ground it.

The uses for tomato powder are endless and if you are camping and cooking in the wilderness it is just a great flavoring to have!

You can mix it right into bread dough with a little basil for a flavored bread.
You can mix a small amount of water to some powder, add Italian seasoning, some garlic and onion flakes for a pizza sauce, or you can forget the water and just sprinkle stuff right on the dough, and if you are out camping don't forget the freeze-dried cheese and mushrooms or a stick of pepperoni for toppings and you can have pizza.
For a stew you can add some powder in with some thistle and cattail roots along with your favorite small game, a little salt and if you have onion and garlic great, if you have some dried hot peppers, even better! Wild game can taste, well, gamy and spices can cover that up fairly well.
Sprinkle a little bit over bacon and eggs in the morning.
Use a little in a sandwich, you get the flavor without the mess of a raw tomato.

Tomato powder is a easy to make, warms the home on a chilly day, is a lightweight addition to a survival pack and is a great way to store your garden tomatoes past winter when you run out of canning jars.

I hope you find this helpful.

Thank you for stopping by
Dee Dee

Friday, September 16, 2011

Left Over Pork Roast to Pot Pie - Part One

Last night I cooked a pork loin roast in the oven at 275 degrees F for a couple hours until the thermometer read 150 and let it set before slicing what we would eat for the meal.
I had more than half of the roast left, so today I took a casserole dish with a lid and put the remaining roast in there with the leftover whipped potatoes. I put that in the oven at 250 degrees F and let it roast for a few hours.
 Always place the fat of the meat on top!
The only seasoning I used was sea salt. 
As the roast cooked the juices mixed with the potatoes and created a gravy.
I added one cup of hot water and two chicken bouillon cubes until the cubes dissolved and then added that to the pork and continued to cook it. After the meat became flake apart tender I removed the layer of fat from the roast and flaked apart the roast. If the gravy is not thick enough I can add some more whipped potatoes or a small amount of instant potatoes to thicken it up.
This becomes a wonderful bass for a pork pot pie and at this point it is gluten and lactose free, which is amazingly good and it does taste creamy. For lactose free don't use butter or milk in your whipped potatoes. An alternative is chicken broth and maybe a little bit of rendered chicken fat. Many instant potatoes do use powdered milk so watch the labels.

Tonight everyone was in a hurry here so this was poured over buttered bread. There is a name for that but I can't repeat that here. Tomorrow if time permits, I will add some carrots and peas and make a pie crust dough to make pork pot pies. I am hoping to have enough left over to freeze a few pies.

Pie crusts can be made gluten free by using non gluten flours such as rice and potato flours. To make a lactose free crust, use lard or bacon grease instead of butter.

I have no problems with gluten or lactose so I use butter, milk and flour in many of my recipes unless I have family coming that is sensitive, then I try to adjust for them.

I can also imagine this would be absolutely delicious with some fried cabbage in egg rolls though I am sure that would not be a truly ethnic tasting experience.

You can use beef or chicken as well if you prefer and get similar results. But if you use a beef roast use either beef stock or bouillon instead of chicken.

Hopefully I will be back tomorrow with the pie making! Tomorrow is already a busy day.

This helped keep the temperature of my house very cozy on the chilly day. 

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Monday, September 12, 2011

Make a Fishing Can

Being fairly poor and having four little children to raise, my parents did not have it within their budget to buy us all fishing poles, reels, tackle and bait, even though it would put food on the table.
My mother had learned many frugal things from my grandparents and one of those was how to make a fishing can.

She used smaller coffee cans to fit our little hands better, but I am using the larger #10 size cans as I have a surplus of those,

 and where she used an old wooden broom stick for the handle I am using a wooden rod from a closet.
You could even use a small branch for the handle.

When using a regular can opener, the point where the lid last separates usually leaves a sharp burr.
On a hard surface, like concrete, hammer that burr down.
If it still feels sharp use a metal file.
Then take a nail and make a hole near the edge. Pound this over a piece of scrap wood.
This also makes a sharp edge that will need to be pounded and filed.
There it is.
Measure the inside of the can and mark the wooden rod just less than the can so that it can be cut and nailed inside the can like this...
Now all that is left is to tie your fishing line through the hole on the edge and wrap the line around the can. Put your hook or lure on it and you are set to go fishing, that is after you get some bait. Worms, grubs and crickets are great for catching pan fish.

To cast out, hold the line close to the bait or float, toss out underhand and point the bottom of the can in the direction the bait is going, this makes some of the line around the can unravel. To reel in just wrap it around the can.

I keep the plastic lid for the can so that when I am traveling to my fishing location I can put the hook inside the can and span the lid on so the line doesn't unravel.

We caught many pan fish with these. They are good for dock, boat or river fishing where you don't need to cast far to catch fish. I have even brought in a decent sized Northern Pike with this. The fight can be tricky at times as a big fish can snap your line if there is too much tension.

Another plus to the fishing can is that you can transport it very easy by car or have a smaller one for your back pack. You can keep some of your gear inside it as well or small containers of worms or crickets for bait.

I have seen people use pop or beer cans to fish but they don't have a handle or the other advantages of  this fishing can.

Where I live children under 16 don't need a fishing license so this is a great way to get them outside and they are so happy when they catch fish!
Remember to teach them to keep only what you will eat, to respect other people fishing near by and never leave garbage in or around your fishing spot. Leave it cleaner than how you found it. That can help hide a good fishing spot as well.  If it doesn't look like anyone has been there some people think there may be a reason no one fishes there.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful.
If you do, please share it.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cucumber Sandwiches and Croutons

When I was a teen and had been living in the cities for a few years I took a trip with my mother to visit my Grandparents. After a 9 hour car ride we arrived tired and hungry.
My Grandmother lived through the Great Depression and learned to use and reuse everything so that nothing went to waste. It turned her into a packrat, but that is another story.
When we got to their home my Grandmother graciously asked if I would like a tomato sandwich. "A tomato sandwhich?" I thought. "Really? What about some bacon and lettuce to go with that?"
I politely declined. Inside I don't think I was so polite.
I had grown up somewhat poor compared to others but nothing compared to those of the depression era, and that is something that I realize now as something that could seriously affect my children more than me if another collapse happens.
I am pretty sure they too would choose to starve for awhile.

Years later I saw a TV show where someone was serving cucumber sandwiches and I instantly thought about my Grandma. There had to be some reason these sandwiches would attract the attention of TV writers. Then a few years later I was visiting my husband's Aunt and she was about to have a party for her garden club.
She was at a loss as to what food to make.
There she was in the kitchen with a pile of cucumbers straight from her garden on the kitchen counter and a few loaves of bread in her freezer, and it hit me.
I told her that I would make cucumber sandwiches. It was a risky move.
She was excited at the idea, though it was something that she had never had.
The only problem was that she didn't have any salad dressing. Not even ranch.
However she had made some coleslaw dressing and had some extra in the fridge so I decided to try that.
Now I wish I had her recipe for that because it was amazing!
The sandwiches were a big hit!

So here I am to bring back the cucumber sandwiches and make some croutons for salad later.

Pretty simple stuff here!
Cut off the crust of the bread and dice for croutons.
Peel and slice the cucumbers.
Put coleslaw dressing on the bread and place the cucumbers.
Slice in quarters. They are best as little sandwiches!
Take your cubed bread crust and add a pad of butter. Use the heel of the loaf while you are at it for more croutons. I know many people discard this but they really shouldn't!
Mix the butter and bread crumbs and sprinkle lightly with a season salt of your choosing. Or get creative and use a cheese powder or tomato powder with a little basil.
Place in the oven and set for 300 degrees F. Once the oven reaches 300, turn the oven off and leave the door shut for at least one hour. Then try a crouton. If it is crunchy all the way through it is ready. They should not be as hard as store bought croutons, but they should not be soft inside.
Let cool completely. I am not sure on the storage of these yet since we used them up on salad before dinner. I know that if you put them in anything too soon they will get soggy and with butter on them they should go in the fridge or freezer.
After you try this you may never buy croutons again. 
If you leave the seasonings off you can have your own bread crumbs for stuffing or crab cakes.

These are comfort foods and for good reason. When you are so very hungry any food will comfort that pain. Grandma knew this and her children lived it. A tomato sandwich, or fried gizzards, or cucumber sandwiches can bring you back to a time when things were hard and you were grateful that your tummy no longer hurt. 

I hope you found this to be helpful.
Please share with others if you did!
Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mystery Yarn and Rolling a Ball

Every now and then I get a free bag of yarn from someone that has partial skeins or rolled balls that are too small for big projects and they have no labels so there is no way to get more, and some of the skeins that do have labels are so very old that the yarn is no longer available.

This is a ball from one of those bags.
Let me start by saying, if you are going to roll your yarn into a ball this is not how it should be done. This yarn was rolled really tightly and what happens is that the yarn looses some of it's elasticity.
When rolling your yarn hold a few fingers under the strands as you are winding the yarn and when you turn the ball to roll in a different direction move your fingers so that you are always winding over your fingers. This gives the yarn space to relax and keep it's elasticity.

Since I am one that doesn't like to see things go to waste I will use this yarn anyways.
This yarn is soft and fine, I would guess a fingering weight which is perfect for baby socks. Baby socks take such a small amount of yarn as do baby mitts so that is what I am making with this.
I also have a few other mystery rolls so I will be using those up on similar projects.

Baby socks are great beginner socks to make and scrap rolls are sometimes the best yarn to use when learning how to knit socks. They are small and very portable and you can make a pair in a day or two.
I used a US size 1 set of 4 double pointed needles. Once you get accustomed to the small size the work is not so hard. Knitting two stitches together can be a little tricky but being able to complete something fast is good for your confidence.

When it takes a month or two or three to make a blanket or sweater you can start feeling like you will never finish it. Take a break and make some socks or mitts. If you don't have any babies in your family, wash them up when you are done and donate them to either hospitals or food shelves.

Or do as I am and make them for the Grandbabies you so look forward to but that your children continuously deny you.

Baby mitts are thumbless and are helpful to keep newborns from scratching themselves.
You can make them just like socks minus the heel.

I know I have been in sock mode here for awhile, but it is just a really good thing to be able to make and I like to do some finish-quick projects every now and then. I really encourage all of you to take the time to explore what you can do!

Thanks for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Universal Yarn - Classic Worsted Tapestry Yarn Review.

I bought this yarn from a specialty yarn store in Minnesota, called "all about YARN" for $8 per skein. 
It is 75% Acrylic and 25% Wool and it is made in Turkey.
It is machine washable and dryable.

The neat thing about this yarn is that when you make socks or mittens, it makes a pattern like some of the socks made in Nordic lands.
I had hoped that since I bought two skeins that both socks would have been more of a match with the  patterns but that was not the case. Another disappointment was finding the yarn was broken in one skein and had a sloppy knot in the second one.

On the positive side, this yarn was incredibly easy to work with and very fun to watch the pattern as it developed in my work. It really made the knitting seem to go faster. I would recommend this yarn especially for beginners. It is easy to unravel or back up stitches as well as to pick up dropped stitches or correct mistakes. This would be a perfect yarn for practicing those skills.

For long socks, these are pretty cute! I made them for my youngest daughter who said while modeling them here, "Hurry up! These are hot!" It was warm here last night, I am just hoping they are nice and toasty cozy in the winter time for her.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Baby Socks - Pattern - Jamie by Lion Brand - Review

This yarn is a Pompadour yarn that is machine washable and dryable.
It is allergy free, shrink proof, non-pilling and moth proof.
A Sayelle yarn made from 85% Dupont Orlon Acrylic and 15% Rayon.
It has a shiny thread that wraps around the strand and it adds a slight sheen in specks on the finished project.

I didn't acquire very much of this yarn so I decided to make baby socks.
Free Pattern Here!

Using a US size 1 set of 4 double pointed needles cast on 32 stitches, distributing the stitches - 8 on first needle, 16 one second needle, 8 on third needle, being careful not to twist join last stitch to first stitch.
Knit 2, Purl 2 for the ribbing working in the round and continue until the cuff is 2 1/2 inches long.

The heel flap is done in the Eye of Partridge stitch.
To do this, work the rib stitch to the end of the first needle. Turn (leaving the needle with the 16 stitches alone) Slip the first stitch as if to purl and then purl across the 2 needles with the 8 stitches on them. I like to purl them onto one needle so I have 2 needles holding 16 stitches each. Turn for the next row. Slip the next stitch as if to purl, but keep the yarn in the knit position, then knit 1 slip one (as if to knit) all the way across. Repeat these 2 rows until the heel flap is about one inch ending with the K1 P1 row.

To turn the heel (which is where I changed the yarn color), Slip one as to Purl and then Purl half of the stitches plus one, then Purl 2 together Purl 1. At this point you should have 4 stitches remaining. Turn, Slip one, knit until there are 7 stitches left, then do a SSK.

The SSK is called a slip slip knit, which means that you slip two stitches onto your needle and then insert the needle that you slipped those stitches off of back into those 2 stitches and knit them together off the working needle as to become a single stitch. SSK is often used in place of Slip 1 Knit 1 PSSO (pass slipped stitch over). If you do not understand with my directions I recommend that you find a video online to get a visual.

Back to the heel.
After you do the SSK knit one more stitch, leaving 4 on the needle and turn your work. *Always leave an even amount of stitches when turning the heel*
Slip the first stitch as to Purl and then Purl until you are 1 stitch before the gap. The gap should be pretty easy to see. Purl 2 together to close that gap, Purl 1 leaving 2 stitches remaining. Turn, Slip first stitch and knit across to 1 before the gap, SSK, knit 1, leaving 2 stitches remaining. Turn, Slip first stitch and purl across to one before the gap, Purl 2 together, Purl 1 - end of row. Turn, Slip first stitch, Knit across to one before the gap, SSK, Knit 1 - end of row.

Now it is time to work the gussets.
Each slipped stitch on the edge of each side of the heel flap are fairly easy to see and this is where you will be adding stitches to. It is easiest to use a crochet hook to pull the yarn through the stitches and place on the needle holding the heel. Also add an extra picked up stitch or two between the side and the top of the foot where the angle meets, this prevents a "hole" at this point. This is another thing that is easiest to learn with visuals. You will add the stitches from one side first, then knit across the needle that held the first 16 stitches and then pick up the same amount of stitches on the other side, but add those to a new needle, so once again you will have 3 needles holding stitches. Add half of the heel stitches (5) onto the 3rd needle and you are ready to finish working the gusset. 
Knit stitches on first needle to 3 before the end, Knit 2 together, Knit 1. Knit across 2nd needle, On 3rd needle Knit 1, SSK, then knit across. 
Next round, knit across all 3 needles.
Repeat these two rows until you have 8 stitches on first needle, 16 on 2nd needle and 8 on the 3rd needle.

Continue on Knitting in the round for the foot. I knitted about 3/4 of an inch before I started the toe. For a longer sock this is where you add for length. The toe shaping is done in about one inch so figure that in for the desired length of sock. The foot of the socks I made here are 3 1/2 inches long.

To work the toe start with the first needle, knit to 3 remaining stitches Knit 2 together Knit 1. On the 2nd needle Knit 1, SSK knit to 3 remaining stitches Knit 2 together Knit 1. On 3rd needle Knit 1, SSK, Knit remaining stitches.
Next row knit the round.
Repeat those two rows until you have 3 stitches on needle one, 6 on needle 2 and 3 on needle 3, then knit the 3 stitches on needle 1 onto the 3rd needle so you have your work on two needles, 6 stitches each.

Now it is time to weave the toe.
You will need a yarn darning needle to sew the seam.
Cut the yarn so you have at least a 16 inch tail to weave with.
Thread the needle.
Insert needle as if to Purl in first stitch on needle closest to you and draw yarn through leaving stitch on the knitting needle. Then insert needle in the first stitch on the back knitting needle as if to knit and draw through leaving that stitch on the knitting needle.

Then insert needle as if to knit in the first stitch of the front K needle and draw through, this time slipping the stitch off the K needle. Then insert the needle into the next front stitch as to Purl and draw the yarn through leaving the stitch on the K needle, then insert the needle into the first stitch on the back K needle as if to Purl and draw the yarn through and slip off the back K needle. Then insert the needle into the next stitch on the back K needle as if to Knit, draw through and leave stitch on K needle.
Repeat from *** until all the stitches have been woven together.

This leaves the toe seamless.
Then just weave in the loose ends and your sock is done.
Now I just need a little Grandbaby to put these on!

These little socks don't take much yarn or time to make. In fact the colored yarn was just a little bit that I had no idea what to do with.

Finishing the review of this yarn.
It really is a beautiful yarn.
Looks aren't everything.
The negative is that the feel is stiff and the texture is far from soft.
Another positive is that it appears that it would be a very durable yarn. This would make a nice "dress" sock.

I hope this has been helpful for you even though there are not visuals to help guide you.

If you like my blog, please share with others.
Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting Ready For Home Schooling

It's time to put "socialization" on hold and let education get the focus this year.

I have watched my daughter get grades in public school that are less than worthy of bragging about. The schools always claim it is the parents fault if a student does not do well.
Well, if it is my fault than I guess there is only one thing for me to do and that is to remove her from public school and home school her.

One of the biggest cuts our public schools have made is to the arts.
They want the students to excel in Math and Science and yet they remove a critical piece in the development of the student's mind.
When creativity is absent in education the rest suffers.
Playing a musical instrument has been shown to increase math scores.

Many problem solving skills are developed through the arts.
Students are sorely lacking in problem solving skills as I have witnessed in my daughter and her peers this past year. I would have thought that schools would have made some improvements in this area since I was in school and unfortunately that is not the case.

What good is socialization if you can not teach them how to resolve problems in a mature manner?

So at any rate. This year she is mine to teach. She will be getting her basics through an online school and I will be teaching her; the Arts, Music, Home Economics, Shop, Woodworking and Alternative Energy.
I might even find some other things to teach her as well.

I went to the craft store and bought her her first decent paint set.
5 canvases
Acrylic paints
Oil paints
A set of 10 assorted paint brushes
and 10 other assorted paint brushes

I have plenty of other supplies already in my sets that she can use including pallets, an airbrush, a wash bin for brushes and things like Acrylic Mediums and Oil thinners and dryers.

We also have things for wood-burning, pottery, paper mache and more.

I will share her art classes here as they come up.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Antique Henry Sears & Son Prussia scissors

This pair of scissors has been in my husband's family for decades if not a century.
I don't know anything about it, but I wanted to share it with you.
It is still very sharp.
Look at how beautiful the detail is!

I have not been able to find any information on these.
It is stamped with:
If you have any knowledge of this model of scissors and where is came from, please leave a comment for me.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

A Different Way to Gluten-Free Pizza

I have done many variations on this recipe for years, but I had not done anything with it for quite a while. Usually using the smaller mushrooms. Then a friend steered me to this site
and I just had to try it and post here to make sure that my Gluten-Free family will see it.
I made it minus the sausage as in the recipe and it was really good. My husband loved it.
This is the finished and plated version I made. 
I cooked the stems and other mushroom pieces in butter along side the rest and then used them to top and garnish.
This was before it went into the oven. I know it looks like quite the mess. I am sure most people watching their weight would be worried about all the butter. I prefer to use natural foods so I use butter and it sautes the mushroom scraps well.

The down side to using mushrooms as a pizza crust, or to hold any other filling, is the fact that mushrooms are very watery, even if you don't use water to clean them.  Washing a mushroom will make them miserable so try not to do it. Just brush them off.
Back to my point, I think this would work even better if you poked a few tiny holes in the outside of the mushroom cap just to pierce it and then placed it on a rack over a baking sheet so the excess water could drip out during baking.
You can also serve them like this without the garnish, I just really hate to let things go to waste.

This is so fast to make that from the start to when I finished eating them and posting this. It was under an hour.

Now I need to find a non-dairy recipe for the Lactose-Free people.

Thank you for stopping by and check out the other site for some more yummies!

Dee Dee