This week has been flying by, I think because I have had so many fun things to do so far – the Harry Potter movie Monday and teaching my class last night; and because I have fun things to look forward to this weekend between the last HP book coming out and the Stitch N Pitch Twins game on Sunday. Tonight I have updates on a few things I’ve mentioned lately, luckily all pretty positive.
First, I think I’ve come to satisfying terms with the iced coffee trials. I’ve given up trying to make a blended drink because all the ones I’ve made so far seem to separate with the ice on top and the liquid at the bottom, plus it’s kind of a pain to drag the blender out and clean up the mess when I’m done. I think if I want a really decent blended drink, I’d have to go with a fattier milk or cream, which I’m thinking might cling to the ice better.
I am happy with the one I made today, though, and I’ll give you the step-by-step process.
I have a four-cup french press from Ikea. I loaded it up with 1/2 cup of coffee grounds – yes, that is a ton of coffee grounds for the amount of water, but I wasn’t getting strong enough coffee before I upped it to that amount. I use decaf Archer Farms French Roast from Target, and I usually buy the whole beans and grind it coarsely for the french press, but the last time I was buying coffee the girls were at the end of their ropes so I just grabbed a bag of pre-ground. I filled the beaker with water, mixed it up till the grounds were all soaked. I wrapped the plunger in plastic wrap because I wasn’t sure if the metal would affect the coffee taste if they were exposed to each other for a whole day, and then I stuck the plunger in just touching the top of the water.
This whole thing sat on my kitchen counter for 24 hours, then I removed the plastic wrap, plunged the plunger and poured the coffee into a plastic bottle and chilled it in the fridge for a while. When I was ready to drink my coffee, I filled a glass half-full of crushed ice from my freezer door, poured coffee to cover the ice and then 1% milk to fill the glass not-quite full. I dumped in a generous squeeze of dark-chocolate Hershey’s syrup (I’m not telling you what a generous squeeze is – start small and add more to your taste). That wasn’t sweet enough for me, and so I added a heaping teaspoon of granulated sugar and stirred the whole thing up.
This was the first time I’ve made a coffee drink that I finally felt it satisfied my *bucks craving. I’m going to choose to believe that this was less expensive and fewer calories than the drink I’d get going through their drive-through, and I don’t really want to hear otherwise. The good news/bad news is that it’s a lot less convenient – good because I have to really want one to make it, bad because you have to plan to want one a whole day in advance.
On to the hot legs. I had to shoot this picture fast because although it’s cooled off nicely and was a perfect day weather-wise here today, Sophie didn’t really want even the softest fuzziest wool on her legs today. Leg one of the pants is done, and leg two is not far behind. It is a little big both in length and width, and that is intentional. We still have probably two more months before she can really wear them, and babies this age grow fast! She could wear them at this length without any problem at her current size, and I’d like to start her out in them a little big and let her wear them longer. Julie’s will be the same way, although I’ll feel less bad when she outgrows them because I’ll be able to save them for Sophie. The joy of having two girls!
I’m thinking ahead to the joining of the legs together, and the one thing that bothered me about the pair I made for Julie last year was the small hole that developed on the back side of the join with wear. I’ve never been especially lucky with tension at joins on any garment – think between the thumb and hand of a mitten (argh!). Anyone out there have a super-duper tip? I’ll try to post a picture of the problem area on the old pair tomorrow if anyone thinks that would help them help me.
Moving on to the faded yarn business. It’s really not as bad as I expected after all the food-dye poo-pooing I read out there on the internet. I knit up a flat swatch with the Rainbow Barf I had left after making my socks. I sewed down the middle to secure it and cut a steek. The half on the left stayed in my office, out of direct sunlight. The half on the right I hung out on the clothes line in direct sunlight and all the weather that we’ve gotten for the last month – mostly sun, one or two small rains, and apparently a little tree sap or something that stained the pink and brown at the top (yuck!)
As you can see, almost all the colors held more or less acceptably. The two pinks near the top faded drastically, and all of the colors faded or changed in color at least a little bit. I think it could be a lot worse, and I have to wonder how many of the people out there dyeing with their “professional” dyes have left a colorcard swatch out in direct sunlight for a month or more. Everything I’ve heard tells me that there isn’t usually a problem with the washing and air drying of these colors – it’s the sunlight that kills them.
I think I’ll avoid the worst-offending pinks, but I’m still left with a couple that did fine. When I next update my etsy shop, I may say something about this yarn is best used for socks and not heirloom projects, but I may not. I’m satisfied with the quality of yarns I’m producing, and I know I’m doing everything in my power to make them acceptable to my customers too.
I’m halfway through re-reading HP and the Half-Blood Prince, so I think I’ll go hang out with that and Sophie’s pants for a while. Magically, it’s only 9:30 so I have a couple-few good solid hours before bed time!