All Things Grinch

Last December during a longer lunch break, I walked by a uniform store. Glancing in the window of the store, a couple items caught my eye.  Displayed high on one of the walls, I saw long sleeved red scrub jackets.  On another display below the jackets were bright green scrub pants.  When I saw them, it made me think – Grinch.  When I went into the store, I discovered that the displays were not directly adjacent, it was just an illusion created by looking through the window.  That visual image, however, gave me a creative idea for work, so I purchased a red scrub jacket and a pair of green pants. I have worn both of these items at work, but not together.img_4295 Now that the Christmas season is here, it was time to put them together.

To create the costume, I designed an digital embroidery pattern (using Art and Stitch) based upon a Grinch face in a child’s coloring book.  The face was embroidered onto green fleece and sewn, like a visor, inside the front edge of a pre-made Santa hat.  To complete the costume, I even found matching green gloves and red Poinsettia shoe on Amazon.

Wearing the costume at work has proven to be a good behavior management strategy.  For the past week, I have had great patient and parent cooperation, even with patients who have not been good in the past!

img_4307A few days after I made my visor, I was shopping at Target.  When walking past the boy’s clothing section, I noticed some green gloves that were the exact shade of the fleece I had used.  Since I had excess fleece, I purchased two pair of gloves and made a couple Grinch hats.  To complete the winter wear sets, I embroidered a triple heart (because, according to the story, the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes), and made neck warmers.  I will be donating these two sets of “Grinch Gear” to the Hats and Mittens collection next year.

For holiday fun, I decided to make some Grinch treats to share at work and with my sons.  Here are a couple recipes:

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Grinch Shortbread Cookies (makes 36)
1 cup  butter, room temperature
1 cup granular sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup Gluten-free flour
1 cup  Almond Flour
green food coloring
Red Jolly Rancher candies

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.  Add vanilla, egg and food coloring and mix until creamy.  Whisk together flours and salt.  Gradually mix dry ingredients into batter. Chill for at least one hour.  Roll out dough to 1/4″ on a lightly floured surface.  Cut out a larger heart with a small heart in the middle.  Place a Jolly Rancher in the middle heart hole.  Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely before removing from parchment paper.

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Grinch Fur – aka Haystacks (makes 36)
12 ounces dark green Candy Melts
12 ounces vibrant green Candy Melts
1 1/2 cups peanuts
12 ounces Chow Mien Noodles
Candy Hearts

Directions:
Place Candy melts in an 10 cup microwave safe  glass bowl.  Microwave approximately 2 minutes.  Stir well until all pieces of candy are melted and blended together.  Stir in peanuts and Chow Mien Noodles.  Place by spoonfuls onto waxed paper and top each with a candy heart. Refrigerate until set.  Store in an airtight container.

Grinch Poppers (see my original post 12-22-18)

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Hats/Scarf Sets and Reindeer Brookies

Again this year, my dental office participated in the collection for the Hats & Mittens Organization. The boxes of donated items were picked up on Thursday.  About 150 items were donated at our three offices.

Like last year, I knit several items to donate.  New this year, several of the scarves that I included in the sets were woven. The hats and scarves were combined with purchased gloves to make winter sets.  Hopefully these sets will keep the children and teens who receive them nice and warm this winter.

Linen Stitch Scarf and Swirl Knit HatIMG_3272

Ombre Teal to Brown Knit Scarf and HatIMG_3269

Dotty Stitch Hat and CowlIMG_3265

Woven Scarf with Cable KnitIMG_3264

Woven Scarf with Swirl Knit HatIMG_3261

Woven Scarf / Ribbed Knit HatIMG_3236

Woven Scarf / Ribbed Knit HatIMG_3233

Woven Scarf / Ribbed Knit HatIMG_3230

Rib Knit Hat and Cashmere ScarfIMG_3228

Dotty Stitch Hat and Striped ScarfIMG_2971

Boa Yarn Knit Scarf and HatIMG_2944

As a special treat, I am including the recipe for the Reindeer Brookies I made today.  Kinda fun and very tasty!

Reindeer Brookies (makes 36, plus scraps from cutting triangles)
img_4285Cookie Base 
1/2 cup  butter, room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granular sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup flour
1 cup  chocolate chips (I used Andes Candies chips)

Brownie Layer 
1/2 cup  butter, melted
1 cup granular sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup Triple Cocoa Blend
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour

Chocolate Frosting and Decorations
1/4 cup  butter, softened
1/4 cup Triple Cocoa Blend
2  Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pretzels, broken
Mini M & Ms, red and brown
Sugar eyes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.  Add vanilla and egg and mix until creamy.  Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.  Gradually mix dry ingredients into batter. Stir in chips. Spread dough into bottom of the pan.

Beat together butter and sugar until creamy.  Add vanilla and egg and mix until creamy.  Whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.  Gradually mix dry ingredients into batter. Spread batter evenly over the cookie dough.  Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely. Once cooled, cut into 3″ x 1 1/2″ triangles.

Beat together butter, cocoa, milk and vanilla until creamy.  Add powdered sugar slowly, beating slowly at first until incorporated, then beat at medium high speed until frosting is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Spread over cooled brookies. Place pretzel pieces to look like antlers.  Add sugar eyes and noses to complete the decorating of the reindeer.

Weaving 101

For the past couple of years, I have been thinking it would be nice to learn how to weave.  I have always been fascinated watching the weavers at the Minnesota State Fair and at different craft fairs.

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Do I really need another craft?  Well, no.  However, I have a drawer full of yarn scraps leftover from various projects.  The scraps are too short to make a hat or scarf, but might be put to some other use.  I thought that weaving could give me a good way to use them up.

So, this summer I purchase a rigid heddle loom (Knitter’s Loom) and spent a couple hours watching videos on-line before giving it a try.  I did some weaving as a child, but that was years ago and things have changed since then. 

img_4260I decided to start with just a straight tabby weave and see how well I did.  The first project I did, I used up leftovers of a solid royal blue yarn for the warp. Then I used another royal blue for the weft.  The scarf turned our really nice.  And, the best part was how quickly it was completed.

Being my first project, it took me about an hour to correctly warp the loom.  Once that was done, the weaving took only three hours.  I removed the yarn from the loom, tied knots in the warp ends and had a lovely 60″ scarf completed.

Continuing with tabby weave, I wanted to see how different yarns would turn out.

Three carves with solid warp and variegated yarn for the weft:

Two scarves with solid warp and eyelash yarn for the weft:

I also used made a scarf with various scraps of red, white and blue yarn used for the warp and solid weft of white cashmere yarn (also shown in the Independence Day post).img_3734

After doing a straight tabby weave, I decided to try a plaid pattern.  Using some glitter yarn scraps from a hat I had knit, I warped the loom in a pattern and then wove the weft with the same yarn in color sections.

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This new craft is proving to be a lot of fun.  I like the woven scarves better than knit or crocheted scarves because they do not stretch out of shape.

The first scarf I made was given to a really good friend for her birthday.  The two eyelash yarn scarves and the patriotic scarf I am keeping for myself.  The rest of these scarves will be put together in sets with a hat and gloves and donated (more about that on another day).

Weaving is so much fun!  I am really going to enjoy using up some of my yarns.

Go Rest High On That Mountain

IMG_2193aJust over two weeks ago, my father fell and suffered a major head injury.  This injury ultimately led to his passing on November 21st (view his obituary). The rapidity in his decline was not expected. My dad had several major health incidences over the past years (cancer, heart disease, strokes, uncontrolled diabetes, etc) from which he always bounced back.  Having been through so many of these, his quickly succumbing to the effects of the fall was very surprising to me.

As I prepare for his memorial service today, I have been reflecting back on my years with him.

Growing up, my father was not an easy man to live with.  However, he did have a large impact on the person I am today.  As a child, I would often retreat to a hidden quiet spot in the basement of our home to avoid his unwanted words and action.  In this space, I would try to be as quiet as possible and thus kept several books, including some of our encyclopedia set, to occupy my time. My time was spent learning new facts and information, which ultimately helped me succeed in school.  To this date, I don’t think my father every knew that I had a hidden spot high on the storage shelf behind several large boxes.

As a high school junior, my father’s personality contributed to my decision to graduate from school a year early and attend college as a seventeen year old.  There were many things that my father had said and done that were inappropriate.  My life’s goal was to personally and professionally excel and make my own path that would be different from the path my father would have preferred.  College seemed an excellent way to accomplish this.

While in graduate school and for several years after graduating, I pulled away from my family, focusing instead on my career and raising my own children.  The things my father had done were wrong and I wanted no part of it.

However, as an adult, I have learned that we all have the ability to live a lifestyle of forgiveness.  The depth of forgiveness we have received in Jesus can be the foundation for our own love and forgiveness. In order to love to greater depths, we must continuously reflect on God’s overwhelming forgiveness and mercy to us.

In Him we have . . . the forgiveness of sins . . . Ephesians 1:7

I realized that I cannot change the past.  But, I could forgive my father and create a new future for us. So, over the past ten years, I have rebuilt a relationship with my father.  Our relationship was not a strong father-daughter relationship. But, I did love my father, spent time with him and will miss him.