Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! (Lynn's Fruit Salad Recipe, sort of)

Sometime between 12 and 18 hours from now, I'll be off to Michigan for the holiday. No blogging on Thursday, and probably none on Friday since I'll either be shopping with the cousins or getting into similar mischief. So as I prepare for yet another "Thanksgiving Dinner that couldn't be beat," here's my hypoglycemic-friendly version of the fruit salad I remember fondly from when I was a kid up at the farm in Massachusetts.
3 fresh Clementines, peeled, sectioned and halved
2 large Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
1 cup sweet cherries, stoned (I'll be using frozen)
1 cup blueberries (frozen again)
4 kiwis, peeled, sliced and halved
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
1/2 cup raisins (or even dried sweetened cranberries, depending on your sugar tolerance)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups plain yogurt, no sugar added
Nutmeg to taste
Cinnamon to taste
Splenda to taste

Try to cut the fruit to equal size chunks, where possible. Blend gently and garnish with sprig of mint (in a perfect world). Enjoy!

You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant (excepting Alice) . . . .

Handwarmers - A Very Simple Pattern

If I had two brain cells left, I'd have photographed these before I sent them away. I'm sure I'll be making more, so I'll insert a photo here at some point down the road. In any case, these are very stretchy, very cushy, and can either be worn by themselves or with a pair of gloves underneath. The 1 x 1 ribbing makes a nice compliment to the ribbing on your favorite hat pattern.

1 skein worsted (with 2 strands held together as one) or bulky weight yarn (I used Red Heart Soft, which is highly washable and durned near bulletproof)
set of 4 double-pointed needles, size 8

Cast on 24 stitches, divided evenly between 3 needles.
Being careful not to twist stitches (because I still do it regularly), join in round.
Work "knit 1, purl 1" ribbing for approximately 7", or the length desired to reach from the base of your thumb up to well under your coat sleeve.
Continuing in ribbing pattern, work 11 stitches. Bind off 2 stitches for thumb hole, then continue as before for remaining 11 stitches of round.
On next round, work 11 stitches, then cast on 2 stitches. Continue remainder of round as before.
Continue to work ribbing approximately 1 1/2 inches past thumb hole. (You want it long enough to cover the palm and perhaps the first joint of the fingers.) Bind off and weave in ends.

(Make 2, of course.)

NOTE: Sally at The Used Yarn Chronicles has posted a more refined pattern here for a similar item, using a single strand of worsted weight yarn. (Waves to Sally.) And she notes that this kind of thing is only "simple" if you're comfortable with double-pointed needles!

An Educational Experience

I spent from 9 a.m. on Saturday until about 6:30 p.m., which just a few breaks, photographing women and girls at Pam's salon. She didn't do any haircuts all day, just hair styles, make-up, pour a little wine, and then send them back to my impromptu studio in the back room. We really could have used some more space, and I definitely need a pink-toned backdrop for next time; but it was a wonderful day. I learned a lot about using my lights and what kind of effects I would get with different balances. I polished my patter a bit, always trying to get people relax and have fun in front of the camera. And I'm very pleased with most of the results.

I just happened to throw a piece of blue stretch velveteen into my accessory box - a length of fabric which was supposed to be turned into a holiday dress half-dozen years ago and had been sitting in my fabric stash ever since. It turned out to be my favorite backdrop by far, although its size (about 3 yards of 60" wide fabric) really limited me to head and torso shots. And I think I've decided once and for all that the pastel yellow/green/purple backdrop I bought on ebay just doesn't seem to compliment anyone. And my small collection of funky St. Vinny's hats and over the top vintage jewelery was a huge hit with the little girls.

Pam and I are so pleased with the response to the Glamour Shots thing, we're talking about doing another one before Valentine's Day. We really ought to find a larger studio space, if at all possible; I'll have to ask her if there is any vacant space elsewhere in the building, and if we could talk to the landlord about renting it just for the one day. Ideally, we'd have something along the lines of a weight bench and much larger backdrops, so customers could loll around like they were attending a Roman banquet and practise looking at the camera with their best Mae West attitude. (I couldn't believe how many of my subjects over the weekend had no idea who Mae West was!! I had to explain the whole, "I used to be Snow White . . . but then I drifted" thing over and over.)

Sunday, Pam was kind enough to let me use her back room for a photo shoot of my own, a young couple documenting their engagement. (I love doing engagement shots. The couples are just so darn adorable - every single time.) This not only saved me the trouble of taking everything down overnight, hauling it home and putting it back up first thing Sunday morning, but it gave us a more central, professional location to work from. There's even a small city park out Pam's back door, so we could duck over for some pseudo-woodsy shots and a few playful images on the double slide. And since Rick just got home Sunday around lunch from a 10 day trip to Texas and Florida, it helped a lot that he could just walk in the door, drop his bags, and collapse without trying to work around strangers and studio equipment cluttering up the living room.

In between all the photography, I did finish and mail the last pirate hat and hand warmers (although I forgot to document them before I sealed the envelope). I also finished the "pearls on the beach" scarf, which is going to Michigan by special request. And I pulled some Incredible ribbon yarn (which looks much more iridescent in real life) out of my stash, and am doing another "big needles" scarf with it to add to that same special request. And then I am honestly, really and truly, going to finish the last stretch of lace on that long-neglected anniversary shawl. I promise.

Monday, November 24, 2008