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I had to send my daughter in college across the country a few things in the mail, and as Easter was approaching, decided to send along some candy as well. But not just any candy, it had to be special. Like this:

Say it with candy

Say it with candy

Because nothing says “Happy Easter” like overdressed rabbits snuggling under a poisonous mushroom. And not just any rabbits, but happy German peasant rabbits.

Then this . . . errr . . . leaped out  at me at the grocery store:

Say you'll be mine -- forever

Say you'll be mine -- forever.

Perhaps the creepiest movie tie-in ever.  Beyond weird.  

And not only that but collectible!

One of three
One of three

I’m so glad to have a daughter with as sense of humor as odd as mine.  Happy Easter, Alex!

Today is my second blogiversary.  Everything I wrote last year at this time holds true, only more so.  More online friends met in person, more yarn dyed and sold, a new product line started successfully,  more items knitted, and, yes, more time spent online!

My gift to you today is a recent sunrise, a thank you for stopping by here.

Winter sunrise

Winter sunrise

I went to the St. Distaff’s Spin-In last weekend, and had my best sales day ever. After the overcrowding of last year, the organizers found a new location in the cafeteria of the lovely Cavelero Mid High. The room is terraced, with stairs and ramps leading Escher-like to the many levels. It seems as if there were more vendors and fewer attendees this year, but in fact the opposite was true. I guess the layout confused the eye.

Spin-In vista

Spin-In vista

This is looking from my table up towards the top of the room. As usual, there were superior snacks, the remnants of my plate of which you can see.  Not only  Chukar Cherries, but homemade fried Rosettes.  Mmmm!

The blended batts sold out, so clearly I have to make more of them. 
Vendors are asked to donate  items for door prizes, and I managed to win one! It was near the end of the day, so the table was rather picked over (I was happy to see that my donated roving had been taken earlier), but investigating a lumpy bag with a scarf pattern visible on top revealed this treasure:
Door prize bounty

Door prize bounty

 Four skeins of Shetland 2000, in two natural wool colors, donated by the distributor, Yarns International.  This is genuine Shetland, from purebred sheep raised on those windy islands.  It’s the yarn called for in the included pattern, Vertical Stripe Scarf by Linda Lawrence.  That project didn’t quite set my fingers twitching, as I have just made a long scarf, but the idea of a traditional shawl appealed, and I remembered the Danish Tie-Shawl from the spring 2008 issue of Spin-Off. So that is cast on and growing.  I’m off to Washington, DC tomorrow to visit family, and it’ll be a great semi-mindless yet rewarding traveling project.

New Year’s Day found me with a pot of Schi simmering on the stove, which I posted as my status on Facebook and got some questions about, of the “What’s Schi?” variety. Let me tell how I learned  about it, and what it has become for our family.

Schi, simmering

Schi, simmering

Many, many years ago, Greg and I ran into our friends Rita and Julian Gilman at a movie theater one wintry night. After the show, they invited us for dinner.  “We’ve got a pot of schi on the stove, there’s plenty!” So we went, and had steaming bowls of a remarkable soup, simple, hearty, warming, ample; everything  a winter soup should be.  Julian learned to make it from his Russian grandmother, and explained that the name Schi is a shorted version of Borschi, or Borscht.  I’m not a Russian speaker, but I know that they like to make affectionate diminutives of names, and the word Schi strikes me as such a thing. I have great affection for this soup, and it’s become an annual ritual, making a large pot of it sometime after Christmas and sharing it with friends and family.

It’s not a beet borscht, but a cabbage one, and in this case the cabbage is in the form of sauerkraut. Do not fear the sauerkraut, all you sauerkraut-scaredy cats out there, because it is part of a harmonious whole, and does not make the soup taste of . . . y’know, sauerkraut.

Here’s the recipe — the method for measuring the spices strikes me as something very old, although the garlic powder must be a modern innovation.

SCHI

2-3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes, excess fat removed
salt
black pepper
garlic powder
good quality sweet paprika
vegetable oil
2-3 large onions, peeled and cut into narrow wedges pole-to-pole
3-4 grated carrots
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 package sauerkraut, drained and rinsed — If I can find it I prefer the kind that is in the refrigerated section, otherwise a good jarred sauerkraut will do

Make a pile of salt about 3/4 to 1 inch high. Cover with fresh ground pepper, then garlic powder, then paprika. Mix together, then sprinkle over the meat and pat it in evenly.

Brown the meat well in a large skillet in hot oil, cooking in 2 or 3 batches. Put meat into a large soup kettle — I use a 10 quart model. Deglaze the skillet with water and pour that into the kettle. Add remaining ingredients and cover generously with water. I bring the water up to about 2 inches from the top of my pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for at least 3 hours.

Serve with sour cream and buttered caraway rye. Akvavit and herring is optional, but really takes it to the next level!

Schi with friends and family

Schi with friends and family

For quite a few years now, our dear friends the Harrisons have joined us for Schi dinner. Jurate shares her Lithuanian holiday herring and bread bounty with us. It’s an evening we all look forward to, simple and satisfying.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, or just the general festive nature of this season, let me wish you a Merry, a Happy, and a Joyous.

The View From Here

The View From Here

May you find a patch of sunshine today, if only in your heart.

As I See It

As I See It

I delivered the Baby Surprise Jacket in between snow alerts this afternoon.  This one is for Mary, cousin to the other adorable toddler I made a sweater for .

Too cute to be still

Too cute to be still

It fits quite well, and with room to grow.  I could even add more to the sleeves to make it last through next winter, I think.

Cute AND in focus

Cute AND in focus

Here’s the back view, and a better look at Mary, with her mom, my talented cousin Janet Anderson.