Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Dear Ann and Kay

Here I am, joining in on the Grandma Mabel Memorial Recipe Box Show & Tell Contest, as seen on Mason-Dixon Knitting.

I actually do have one of those antique-y looking recipe boxes--umm, mine was new in 1963 when I got married, so it really is "vintage"--but I'm not sure where it is right now, and with the current state of my rib cage, excavating for it isn't a good option.
So I decided to make do with the recipe collection(s) that get the most use around here

Recipe book assembled by D4 and D5 as Christmas gifts for their siblings (and themselves) back in 2000:
Inside view of Meg's: including the copy of Cook's Illustrated with the sour cream pie crust/great apple pie recipe.
One of the recipes from the book:
we had this for breakfast on Christmas day this year. It's really a great fast easy tasty dish, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and perfect for potlucks. Even tastes good cold for breakfast, should there be any left over. We vary the amounts--12 eggs and a quart of cottage cheese, whatever size can of green chiles the store happens to have, we're not fussy at all.
And this is where some of my recipes live:

the inside door of my Depression-green Hoosier. Yes, my kitchen is very "period" with its unremodeled 1921 kitchen, its 1980's appliances (earthquake in '87 killed the old stove), and its gen-u-wine Nappanee Kitchenette, aka Hoosier Kitchen. It has the sliding enameled tray that pulls out for more work surface, a block of wood for clamping the meat grinder onto, and a working flour sifter behind the side door. Holds 20 lbs of flour, easily, and we did use it all the time back when I was cooking for the Hungry Horde. Such a convenience to just hold the measuring cup under the sifter, turn the crank, and voila! Sifted flour!
Nowadays, the flour lives in Tupperware. Not as much fun, but infinitely less conducive to weevils and flour moths, since we don't bake or even cook as much or as often as formerly!

So--what do your recipes live in? Ann and Kay want to know!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

End Of The Year Checkup

... or, how did I do with my stash-reduction goals for the year? Confession is, I suppose, good for the soul, and in any case the public acknowledgement of my success/failures ought to be therapeutic. Or at least motivational!

Note: for 2007 I focused on yarn mainly, especially in the written goals. I did work on the fabric stash, though, and for 2008 my goals apply to all stashes--fabric, fiber, and paper!

Here we go. I'm going to put last year's goals in black type, and then comment on how well or badly I did in color. Let's see how it works.

1. Assess and organize. Knowing your enemy is the first step, right? Besides, it will be fun to meet old friends and maybe get to play with computer programs--I think Excel will work for this. Well, this is coming along. It's not anywhere near completed, though. I've tried using the Excel spreadsheet and Ravelry, but I seem to bog down. The rationalization: I'm purging, so I should wait till I've got it down to a manageable size. That's not good enough; for the coming year, I need to work on this more effectively.

2. Purge. Ruthlessly. I don't think this step needs explanation. Maybe it would help to think of it as Sharing The Wealth. Well, that's been happening. A lot of yarn went out of the house this year. The Yard Sale helped. Maybe another yard sale is called for. Or maybe more charity knitting and definitely more charity quilts!

3. Assign. Some things were bought for a specific pattern, so it would help to have the pattern and its source stored together with the yarn. Getting there. Same with the fabrics.

4. UFO Patrol and WIP roundup. Again, self-explanatory. I'm starting to think that a monthly repeat of this step would be really good for me. Knitting WIPs and UFOs are well herded and corraled. Time to do this for the quilts now! After all, there is that Fan Quilt that's been needing only to be quilted since... literally... 1985.

5. WIPs get whipped into shape. UFOs get judgment: they are either going to become FOs or they are going to return to their roots, ie yarn balls. Or charity quilts. No mercy! The knitty ones have been taken care of, so let's get to those quilty ones.

6. Periodic evaluations. How well is this working?? Not nearly as well as it could. Ah, the joy of distractions--like the Grandcarrot and Audrey. And the lure of shiny new yarns. Not so much with the fabrics, though!

7. Pattern round up and organization. All those lovely designs printed off the internet, especially the ones in the stack that the cat knocked over and mixed up. I've got notebooks and sleeves, so let's put them to work. Total failure here. The situation is actually worse than it was, since I've printed out more patterns!

8. Books books books. Lots of knitting books, most of which are keepers. Gotta weed out the ones that aren't, make working copies of some patterns so they're handy for assigning to yarn. A lot of books... A LOT OF BOOKS!!--got moved out in the yard sale. Quilt books, knitting books. I went from a 5-shelf bookcase in the studio to two 2-foot-high stacks of keepers. And the purge continues!

9. Gift and charity knitting. This is one of the reasons I said these steps weren't being assigned to a particular month--I want to do this all year long. If there are going to be yarny gifts for birthdays or Christmas, then I should decide that early and get on with it! And I've sorta let the charity knitting slide, since my knitting time has been drastically shortened, but that's really no excuse. Coming along nicely. Add charity quilting to this list, though, and it's not nearly as it should have been. The only excuse? The closing of Bearly Stitchin' means we lost our venue for spreading out and working on charity quilts as a group. Once I get my "studio" in order, I'll be able to do more at home, and that will help a lot.

10. Knit from stash exclusively. For this part I may follow Wendy's rules, except that since I don't knit socks, I won't need the Sock Yarn Exemption. I'm not even going to push for a Scarf Yarn Exemption, since I have lots of yarn that would make good scarves. Okay, didn't happen. Who could have foreseen the Black Sheep Knittery sale, or even the Pink Porch closeout? I think I need to plan to shop from stash FIRST whether it's for a quilt or a knitting project, and leave myself some slack as far as buying or not. Let's face it, will power (or won't power) isn't my long shot, so what's the point of setting unreasonable goals for myself?

11. Review, Reassess, Re-evaluate. Frequently. Okay, this is doable, and has been done. Maybe not as frequently as I would have liked, but often enough.

For next year? I think I'll keep it simple--the KISS approach seems to work for me. I did join the Stashbusters Yahoo group, and I think that will be very inspirational. Anne is a member and she and I have a lot in common as far as paring down the stash goes! She's wayyy ahead of me on the whole-house cleanout front, though. See, this is where I am having a problem. There are too many areas here (meaning in the house) that need attention, and so my efforts are scattered. I need to focus myself more on one or two areas, so that I actually accomplish something that can be seen. As it is, I do some here, some there, and whoa, it doesn't even show.

Since I fell on Friday, and managed to hurt myself yet again--this time it's ribs, ouch--I'm not able to do much physically, so I'm going to try to use this time for planning. (And no, it's not a bad injury, and it's getting lots better pretty quickly, just right now highly inconvenient!)