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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Apples! Apples! Apples!


How do you get 60 apples in one afternoon? Go apple picking!

Living in the Hudson Valley means theres lots and lots of apple orchards all over.  We decided to go to the closest one, Masker Orchard.  I also like it because it's close to my maiden name, Mader ;) 

And It has spectacular views, like this! 

So now that you have apples... of course, you're gonna make pie! We did! ....and turnovers, and an apple crumb bake, and we still had over half of the apples left. 


And after....

I didn't get a picture of the pie, wasn't fast enough... 
There's only so many apples you could eat... and after all that peeling, coring, and chopping from making the desserts, I wanted to do something easy with the rest. I've been seeing a lot of recipes for slow cooker apple butter so I decided to try some myself! I love my crockpot.

You still have to core 'em and cut 'em, but for apple butter you don't need to peel the skins! There's extra nutrients in the skins so it's a win-win for my lazyness. 

Surprisingly, no butter in apple butter.  Which is awesome, I can eat it without feeling like a lard ass! All you need is apples, brown sugar (light or dark, doesn't matter), apple juice/cider/or water, cinnamon, and nutmeg (optional, but I love nutmeg).  

I did 12 apples, half a cup of Masker's apple cider (you can use water or apple juice, but I wanted mine to be flavorful and deep in color), a quarter cup of light brown sugar, two tablespoons of cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg. I put it on high for four and a half hours and mixed it every once in a while to make sure nothing was sticking to the pot.  After that I used my stick blender for a while to mash everything up. I cracked the lid to let out some of the moisture and let it thicken up a bit. At this point in the cooking process it looked like apple sauce and smelled like a million Yankee candles. You can totally stop here or take some out to have cinnamon apple sauce, but I kept going with my batch. I wanted it to get to peanut butter consistancy and smoothness. I let it cook with the lid open for two more hours. I cannot even explain how awesome my house smelled. I didn't notice it because I was standing in it for some time, but then I took my dog outside and came back in and really smelled it all!  Soooo amazing! I used the stick blender one last time to smooth it out perfectly and then it was done! 

It made so much apple butter! I've been globbing it on my toast each morning, it's a wonderful way to start your autumn days. 

As they say at Masker Orchard, Live Apply!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Skywalker Boots

The internet is one of the best craft tools around. Some days I think to myself, "Hmm, I wonder how to crochet a heart..." A few clicks on google later and ...bam! Crochet heart. 

"Hmm, I wonder how to crochet a flower..." 

"What about an owl...?"

It usually works for a lot of things I search.  But of course, the one time I need to find a free pattern for booties, I can't find one in the right size. I ended up making up my own based on a pattern I found for a larger size bootie.  I found this Toddler Double Soul Moccasins Pattern pattern for toddlers and kids, they are about 6.5" in length. The kid I'm making the booties for is barely 12 months old, and his foot measured 5 inches.  So here's the pattern if you need to make one for your little one! 

I made the pattern almost exactly like the one in the link above, but smaller. I also changed the shaft of the bootie a little, I wanted my booties to look wrapped, like Luke Skywalker's boots in Star Wars. My stitches are in US terms.  And I use the typical pattern short hand.

For example, SC # means to crochet one 'single crochet' in the next number stitches. And # SC means to crochet # 'single crochet' in next stitch. Please let me know if you have any questions, this is my first time writing a pattern...

Stitches used: 
SC Single Crochet
DC Double Crochet
HDC Half Double Crochet 
sl st Slip Stitch
ch Chain
SC2TOG Single Crochet two stitches together 
DC#TOG Double Crochet # of stitches together 

Worsted weight yarn, Size G6 hook (4.00 mm)

In sole color (I used Red Heart Coco Bean), slipstitch, chain 13.
Round 1: 2 SC in 2nd loop from hook, SC 5, HDC, DC 4, 7 DC in last chain, working opposite side of starting chain DC 4, HDC, SC 5, 2 SC in last chain, sl st to first stitch
Round 2: ch 1, SC, 2 SC, SC 9, (HDC, 2HDC) x4, HDC, SC 10, 2 SC, SC, sl st join to first sc
Round 3: ch 1, 2 SC, SC, 2 SC, SC 11, HDC, SC 11, 2 SC, SC, 2 SC, sl st join to first sc
Round 4: ch 2, 2 DC, 2 DC, HDC 14, (DC, 2 DC) x3, (2 DC, DC) x3, HDC 14, 2 DC, 2 DC, sl st join to first DC

If you are doing the contrasting side double sole, fasten off. Make another sole in boot color and continue the pattern below...

Round 5: Stitch both soles together, carefully keeping them straight, using SC. ~58 stitches
Round 6: HDC in each stitch all around, should end with 58 stitches in total, decrease or add where ever if you need to
Round 7: DC in each all around, 58 stitches

Round 8: ch1, SC 21, SC2TOG, HDC, DC2TOG x5, HDC, SC2TOG, SC 21, sl st join to first
Round 9: ch 1, SC 17, SC2TOG, DC2TOG, DC3TOG, DC2TOG, DC, DC 2, DC2TOG, SC2TOG, SC 17, sl st join to first st
Round 10: SC 13, SC2TOG, DC2TOG, DC, DC3TOG, DC, DC2TOG x2, SC2TOG, SC 13, sl st join to first st
Round 11: SC 6, SC2TOG, HDC, DC2TOG, DC, (DC2TOG, DC) x4, DC2TOG, HDC, SC2TOG, SC 6

That's it for the shoe part, the next part of the boot is just 5 rows of double crochet.  I slightly modified the boot shaft from what I saw in the tutorial I looked at when creating my pattern.  I did 5 rows of double crochet then one last row of single crochet in a lighter beige color for some contrast.  I think I get the Luke Skywalker effect with these boots, the texture of the stitches help it looked wrapped.  I'm pretty happy with how they came out!  I hope you enjoyed the pattern.  Here's some fashion photos of the booties, I got inspired... 

AND you could fold down the booties for a different look!

...for those fashionista babies

Thanks for checking out my first pattern!  I hope you have as much fun making yours as I did! 

Stay tuned for more pictures of the Star Wars twins costumes updates! 

~The Craftmeister