Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fresh Made Seltzer

I love drinking seltzer...just plain bubbly water.  Since Thaddeus drinks it too, I've suggested for a while that we get one of those home seltzer makers:

Soda On-Demand

How many of you have gotten one of these Soda Stream, CO2 infusers?

Overall, it's cheaper to make your own seltzer and it saves on plastic...right?

I couldn't understand why Thaddeus wouldn't want one of these.

Until I realized he wanted to do it in a more industrial (and cost-savings way).

Yes, with a 5 pound tank of CO2, a regulator, a hose and some special caps that fit soda bottles, we are now making GALLONS of our own Seltzer water.  The initial outlay of $164 allowed us to buy all the equipment necessary and fill the tank with CO2.  This set-up will last for at least 6 months and then we just need to pay about $10 to refill the tank with CO2.

I imagine we'll cover the cost of this equipment in less than 2 years of savings on buying seltzer.  Plus, we'll add a lot less plastic to the World.

Current Crochet

Making slow, but steady progress on the crochet basket weave blanket/afghan.

I'm also re-making the heel samples for my workshop, but that shouldn't take too much of my knitting time.


Just didn't want to go too long without a photo of the most wonderful cat.

Here he is watching us eat lunch today.  I'm loving this guy more and more.

Friday, April 18, 2014

New Thaddeus Recipe

This side-dish is amazing...we had something similar in a restaurant and we loved it.

Curried Chickpea Fries

This dish is a healthier alternative to French fries, it can be completely gluten free and has a ton of flavor.  I personally love the flavor of  Indian spices, but you could substitute rosemary, or chive

Curried Chickpea Fries
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Time: About 1½ hours, largely unattended

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chickpea flour
2 cups water (you could also use vegetable or chicken stock)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and black pepper

1. Grease an 8- or 9-inch pan (Thaddeus uses a round pie pan, but most people use a square pan).
2. Whisk chickpea flour, cumin and turmeric into boiling water (you definitely want to use a whisk for this).
3. Boil while whisking constantly for 2 minutes.
4. Spread the chickpea flour mixture as evenly as possible into the greased pan, cover with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
5. Put at least 2 inches of the oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat. Cut the chickpea flour cake into ½-by-3-inch strips. Add one of the strips to the oil to test whether it’s hot enough; the oil should immediately bubble vigorously. Working in batches, cook the remaining strips until deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the strips to paper towels to drain, season with salt, and serve hot.

Current Knitting/Crocheting

I'm doing a workshop at this year's Men's Spring Knitting Retreat on knitting a sock heel that forms more to the real anatomy of a foot than commercial socks, so I've started knitting up some samples.

I also did some additional crochet on the Crochet Basketweave Afghan, until I realized I had miscounted the number of rows in one of the stripes, so I had to rip back a bit.

I have recovered and gone a little past where I was, but I did promise a progress photo.

Readers' Comments/Questions

Thanks for the two comments about using EverNote instead of OneNote.

I made a comment that I still like OneNote better (see my response in last blog entry comments), but I have to now qualify my comments.

OneNote on Windows is an excellent product...better than EverNote in my opinion.  But on Mac OS, OneNote (which is a free app) is not as fact in some ways it sucks.  I tried copying an Excel table into EverNote and also into OneNote...EverNote handled it great, OneNote wouldn't format the damn thing into a table no matter what I tried (whereas in Windows, it works like a charm).  Those kinds of platform-based inconsistencies with Microsoft products drive me nuts.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Best Organizational Tool Ever

Throughout all of my years at school and then into my worklife, I was terrible at having an organized way of keeping my notes in a place where I could access them when I needed them.

That Was Then

So now, someone at work introduces me to Microsoft's OneNote.


This is what I have been searching for all my life.

For those who have never used it it's available as part of the Microsoft Office Suite of softwares, and also free on Mac OS and IOS as an app (they two softwares have a slightly different interface in Windows vs. OS/iOS).

Think of this application as an easy-to-search three-subject notebook, that had unlimited subjects (not just three), and unlimited pages in those subjects.

And that you could easily create pages in these notebooks by copying and pasting, embedding links, taking screen prints, sending Outlook e-mail messages directly to the correct subject, or just typing in notes.

The next time you needed to access your list of birthdays, you could go directly to the page (if you could find it) or do a simple search on the word birthday to find the subject and page where you had stored it.  It can also store to-do lists and html tags, or dates of children's vaccinations or meeting notes...and on and on.

I love this new has FINALLY allowed me to store information that is relevant to me in a way that is easy to access when I need it.

Current Knitting and Crocheting

I've done some additional work on both the Henry Der sweater vest and also on the Crochet Basketweave blanket.

The blanket doesn't look different enough from the last photo, so I'll try to get some more work done on that project so I can show a proper progress picture, but here's where I am with the Henry Der sweater vest.

The back is almost complete and I've finished one side of the front (after I split for the head opening).

I'm honestly not sure this design idea is going to work well enough to actually wear this sweater...I don't know if you can notice it in the photo, but I did bias knitting on the sides of the sweater and it seems to be torquing in a way I'm not sure blocking will fix.

But I won't know until it's finished.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Openness To Inspiration

As much as I'd like to say how open I am to being inspired, I think my openness is a bit more limited than I'd like to believe.

Limited Openness

A quick scan of Pinterest is a perfect microcosm of how I can sometimes enthusiastically embrace an idea that I find fits my aesthetic views and how I can totally dismiss ideas outside my areas of interest.

Some call this throwing out the baby with the bath water.

I'm starting to believe that creative people are more open to seeing things in a way that they find inspiration.  While I might look at a crochet toilet paper cozy and dismiss the entire thing, a more creative person might see a fabric texture, or a color combination, or a kitsch factor that inspires them to take useful aspects and leave the parts they don't find appealing.

I'm going to try and see things differently.

Current Knitting

At least I am being very productive in my knitting.

I've finished the latest pair of Zauberball socks.

Readers thought these were rainbow socks, but they really aren't.  I love how bright the colorway is and I will enjoy wearing these socks.

I've also gotten past the arm-hole shaping on the Henry Der vest.

Until this vest is almost finished, it will be difficult to decide if this design idea is going to work very well and also difficult to get a decent photo that doesn't make this look like an Alien embryo.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Made In the U.S.A.

As a consumer, more and more, I'm looking to buy products and services that benefit my local community, my State community and/or my Federal community.

Best New Local Product

It's getting more and more difficult to find a wide variety of products manufactured in this country, never mind in my own State, and often, those products are either not exactly what I'm looking for or are more expensive than a foreign substitute.

I am thrilled to have found an amazing new product that's made right here in my own state of Pennsylvania.

Invisible Glass by Stoner, Inc. (great company name!) is by far the best glass cleaner I've ever used and it works phenomenally well on metal, plastic and ceramic as well.  With just one spray application and a swipe of a micro-fiber cloth, my cooking area was GLEAMING!

Thaddeus saw them using this at our local car wash, and he was kind of annoyed that they barely swiped at his windshield and windows, and yet they were sparkling clean.  He found the product in the car-cleaning products section of our grocery store, but Amazon sells it as an "Add-On" so that you can reach the amount of an order to get free shipping.

If you ever try this, you will never use Windex again.

Current Knitting

Only worked on the Zauberball sock this past weekend.

Almost finished with another pair of hand-knit socks.