Holiday Fun

My husband and I trade spending Christmas with each of our families every other year.  This year was the year to be with his family.  It was great, outside of some family emergency stuff that came up midstream (boo! 😦 ).  However, here are some pictures to document some of the fun goings-ons:

All of the presents we took with us. So much fun…everyone loved their gifts!!

Family…our 3 little nieces, my mother- and father-in-law, and brother- and sister-in-law, and us of course (I’m in the red cardigan, and my husband is in the Eddie Bauer sweatshirt) 🙂

Me teaching my 9-year-old niece to knit.  She ASKED to learn how to knit & spin!

We bought our middle niece a “Build Your Own Volcano Kit” for Christmas.  Here she, her older sister, their dad, and my husband are all building the volcano, followed by a picture of it “erupting” later on.  Apologies for the poor picture quality on the erupting picture…it was dark outside, and we had a flashlight shining on it to see.

Craft-wise, I did get some spinning done (not much because of that unplanned family emergency).  Below you’ll see a picture of a 2-ply handspun yarn, spun from Spunky Eclectic Falkland wool in colorway “Gone Fishin.'”  This is destined to be a hat for my father-in-law, an avid fisherman.  A nice wool hat will be just the ticket for when he goes night fishing on cool nights.  Here’s hoping I can get the yarn washed and the hat made while we’re still visiting with them.

Best Christmas gift I received?  It’s hard to pick, but my husband really did a good job this year.  He got me a Hansen miniSpinner, complete with the WooLee Winder.  Sorry…no pics yet, but soon, I promise!  I played around with it a bit on Christmas day, and I think I’m going to love it.  It’s so different from my wheel and will take some practice/getting used to, but wow, such a lazy/easy way to spin! 😀

Next blog post will hopefully have some recipe ideas and a new knitting pattern that I’m writing, which will be available for free on Ravelry!

Christmas Treats!

For almost as long as I can remember, at Christmas time, my mom and I made fudge together.  Sometimes, we’d pack it up in little tins and gift it as gifts, and sometimes it was just brought to her office party or a family function.  I’ve read lots of places how fudge can be “complicated” to make, sometimes with not so fabulous results (grainy texture, etc).  Perhaps certain recipes are fussy and that way.  However, I’ve always found our recipe to be easy and pretty much fool-proof every single time.  It takes only 15 min. of prep/cook time and setting up overnight in the fridge.  See?  Not that hard!

I have made this so long that I have it memorized, and now I bring it to office parties, friend’s Christmas parties, and pack it in little tins.  There is even a guy at my work who demands requests 😉 that I make it each year.  For the record, my mom still makes it as well.  As far as the origin of the recipe, I think we originally found it in a cookbook that was put together by the moms of my girl scouts troop.  It has been at least 20 years ago that we started making this.  I’ve looked around on the internet a bit and have found recipes that are close but not quite the same as what we do.  So, I think it’s ok to post it here. Here are some in-process pictures too just to entice you! 🙂  I made it today for a cookie exchange with work friends.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 25 large marshmallows (Jet-Puff is better than generic)
  • 2 1-oz. bars unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 12-13 oz. bag semi-sweeet chocolate chips
  • 1 12-13 oz. bag milk chocolate chips (can modify the recipe easily by substituting mint-chocolate chips, raspberry chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips to make different flavors…I have done all of the above with great success)
  • Walnuts (optional, I never add them due to potential food allergies)
  • 2 9×13 EZ-Foil sheets (makes it SO MUCH easier to cut the fudge once it’s set up), alternatively, line a large cookie sheet with foil (not easy to cut)

Directions:

Grease the pan(s) with a small amount of butter.  In a large pot, melt the butter at medium-high heat.  Once melted, add the sugar and stir.  It will be a grainy consistency.  Add the milk, and stir until smooth.  Continue heating until the liquid is warm.  Add the marshmallows, and increase to high heat.  Continue heating until the marshmallows are melted (Pro tip:  smash the marshmallows against the sides of the pot with a wooden spoon once they start to melt to get them to melt faster.  Otherwise, the mixture will start to “grow” quickly in the pot as it is heated).  Once the marshmallows are melted, turn off the heat.  Add the unsweetened chocolate and stir until melted.  Add the semi-sweet chocolate chips, and stir until melted.  Add the milk chocolate chips, and stir until melted.  If adding nuts, do so at the end, and stir until incorporated.  Pour into pans, cover with foil, and allow to set up overnight in the refrigerator.  Makes 5 lbs.

Marshmallows getting melted:

Freshly poured fudge:

And after it’s been cut…all ready to serve:

And totally unrelated…we are in the middle of Christmas frenzy here.  This means that at least one of our guest rooms gets overtaken with the presents and all of the stuff to wrap them.  I’m maybe only halfway through wrapping (if that), but things are coming along nicely as you can see below.  Happy Christmas! 😀

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty…

A couple of weeks ago, I kind of went crazy at Ulta buying new nail polish and eyeshadow….mainly the eyeshadow.  I bought bareMinerals Ready Eyeshadow in The Scenic Route, The Paradise Found, and The Afterparty as well as the Urban Decay Naked palette.  All are awesome!  Here are a few pictures where I was playing around with the bareMinerals Ready eyeshadow.

Before, where I only had foundation, cover-up, and blush:

After with a mixture of colors from bareMinerals The Scenic Route, The Paradise Found, and The Afterparty.  I followed this tutorial on the bareMinerals website to get a pretty smoky eye.  My foundation is a powder foundation from Aveda, my blush is also from Aveda, and I had a Mary Kay gloss on my lips.

And a close-up of the eyes:

I don’t usually like to use flash, but for the purposes of seeing the sparkle, here you go:

And, let’s not forget the fun nail polish.  This is Butter London in La Moss.  I LOVE this nail polish!  Great colors, fairly long-lasting, and the top coat gives me shine, shine, shine!

Welcome to my new blog!

I have decided that beginning in 2012, I want to create one blog post per month. My old blog (melseyknits.blogspot.com) was hosted on Blogspot, but I didn’t really like that platform.  It seemed too cumbersome to post, which I think prevented me from posting in the past.  So, I decided to switch over to WordPress for my blogging needs.

For this new blog, I would like to have a somewhat structured format for my posts (not that I have to be religious about following it, but hey, a little consistency/structure will help me keep blogging each month).  So, I plan on having different sections in the blog as follows:

  • Crafty Goodness – what newest thing have I made?
  • A Day in the Life – random things going on in my life
  • A Fun Favorite Thing – something that I have discovered or just really happen to love that month
  • (Occasionally) A Tutorial – if I have information/tips to pass on, I will do so!

So, I hope that you like this new format and new blog and that maybe you learn something, are inspired, or at the very least are entertained.  I have several blogs that I follow on a regular basis, and I know that I get so many ideas and tips from them.  I strive to have such a blog for people to follow!  Hopefully, I can get there in 2012! 😀