Saturday, November 9, 2013

An Easy Way to Remove the Pilling on your Sweaters

Way back in the late 1970's, I got a bee in my bonnet.  I wanted a knitting machine in the worse way.  I liked knitting but over the years it had become boring.   I figured a knitting machine would speed up the knitting process, but I could still come up with new ideas and be creative.  They were pretty expensive for the time, but eventually I got one.  I took lessons.  I dragged it to Janesville Wisconsin for all day seminars.  It was fun, and I made a lot of things.  It wasn't as easy as it would seem.  There is still a lot of hand work and transferring with the machine.  Now they have computerized machines that you can program and walk away for a while.  Mine is a basic machine and is almost an antique.  I rarely use it anymore, but keep it for some reason.

At some point, I learned how to make yoke sweaters and I made several.  Recently I was exchanging summer clothes for winter clothes, and I came upon two sweaters that I had made for my mom.  They are at least 20 years old, maybe more.  She would baby them and wear them on the holidays.  When she died, I kept them.  Now I think I am ready to wear them myself. The first one was a basic cardigan.

The red sweater she wore the most.  She hand washed it and took care of it, but it still became very fuzzy over the years.  Wearing sweaters under winter jackets make them pill no matter how you take care of them.  Some yarns are worse than others.

This sweater has a fine sparkly thread in the yarn so it pilled easier.

I found a very easy way to remove pilling on sweaters.  I started out with a lint removing device.  It worked but it took a long time.  I thought there had to be a faster way.  It would be fine for a small
amount of fuzzies, but I had a sweater that needed a lot of work.

This is a super lint shaver.  It has little blades inside and the lint is collected.

Because the lint shaver has a series of rotating blades inside,  I figured a safety razor would also work.  I went in the bathroom cabinet and found a safety razor that needed a new blade.  We have a lot of them because all the major razor makers give away razors.  They hope that by giving away the razor, people will go out and buy the very expensive replacement blades.  I usually just request a new free razor.

Carefully you just shave the sweater going from top to bottom.  As long as you do it on a hard surface and keep the fabric smooth, you can't cut it.  If you don't keep it taut then you risk cutting the fabric.  The smooth part of the photo is where I removed the fuzzies.  It worked great and what do you have to lose.  You probably wouldn't want to wear a sweater that is all fuzzy anyway. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

National Men Make Dinner Day

As many of you know, yesterday November 7th was National Men Make Dinner Day.  There were 10 rules for the men, but the only two I cared about were cleaning up and making dinner without any help.  Some other rules included candles and conversation.  I don't need that, just anything on a plate and a clean kitchen.  I even went to the store and got some fresh hamburger, just in case.  I realize that I broke the rule of no help,  but I wanted to give myself any advantage possible.

My husband volunteered at the hospital yesterday and got home about 4:30.  I had the kitchen clean so he had a clean slate.  I just sat and crocheted scrubbies and watched TV.  Pretty soon it was 5:45 and I hadn't heard any activity in the kitchen.  I went in and saw nothing so I heated up left over meat loaf (which my husband had made a couple days earlier), potatoes, corn and homemade apple sauce for my dad.  I asked Mike if he wanted the leftover pork chop from the night before and he said yes and "throw in a baked potato for me".  I put the pork chop in a pan on low and put the potato in the microwave.  I then poured myself a bowl of Life cereal, sliced a banana on top with some milk and sat down to eat.  Ok, so much for National Men Make Dinner Day.

Then about 8:00 I heard something going on in the kitchen.  I went in and this is what I saw.  He was preparing the ingredients for making the hamburger into something.

A combination of ingredients.

The first thing he did was weigh out the hamburger to exactly 4 oz.

5 quarter pound hamburgers to put in the freezer.

Then the rest of the hamburger went in a bowl with the other ingredients.

Meat loaf ready for the oven.

He does make a very good meat loaf.

He makes a great meat loaf and now we will have a few meals in the freezer for later.  He uses a secret recipe taken from an old Workbasket magazine from 1979.  He didn't serve me dinner tonight, but he prepared at least three meals for another time.

But, wait there is more.  This morning I was doing my morning chores and low and behold here my darling husband comes with breakfast.  He had two fried eggs, two bacon, a few hash brown potatoes and half an English muffin with jelly.  He even brought coffee to go with it.  So now we are changing November 8th to National Men Make Breakfast Day.

This is funny and I was happy to get the help, but I'm hoping that my daughters' generation will not celebrate National Men Make Meals Day.  This is not the olden days, where men go out to the fields and women keep the home fires burning.  It warms my heart to see Dad's now days interacting with the children in a way that didn't happen so much the generation before.  It's a choice, if you choose to separate duties, that's fine.  If you both work and both are gone from the home, then the duties should be divided equally.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tiger Brewery Building in Princeton Wisconsin

Every now and then I like to write about our little town.  When you are new to a town, it takes a while to learn it's history.  We hadn't lived in Princeton too long before we discovered an interesting building about a block from downtown.  This building was brick and was on the Fox River.  When we first saw it, there was a big garage sale inside.  It was old and damp and had a lot of rooms.

It turns out that it was an old brewery.  The original owner was a master brewer who moved to the area from Prussia in the 1850's.  He struggled to stayed in business.  Apparently he enlisted in the Civil War and left his wife to run the business.  It didn't make it.  She didn't know how to keep the hops and sprouts from spoiling.   It had several owners over the years, but reopened in 1934 with a new image.  Tiger Beer began and it was marketed as the "Beer with a Purr".   After the business closed in the late 1930's, the building was used for many things.  It was a soda factory, a cheese business, a storage company, a mushroom growing facility, an antique store and even was used for a haunted house every Halloween for years.  It is empty now which is a shame.  Maybe with the popularity of small breweries, someone will come to town and reopen it.  Although I'm sure the equipment is long gone and all that remains is the beautiful logo on the side of the building.

* I got some family information from Rich West.  It was very nice of him to share.  This is what he said "August Carl Weist, the founder of Tiger Beer, was my Great, Great Grand father. He was originally from Arnsdorf formerly Prussia, now Germany. Somewhere along the line the 'e' was dropped from our name."

He also sent a bit more background on his Great Great Grandfather and the Tiger Beer building.

The link below is from a 1978 Milwaukee Journal article about the family.  Very interesting to read.,3632061&hl=en

Here's another link.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

Everyone can make an apple pie, but the crust is sometimes a pain to make.  You either have to buy the crust or make it.  Making it is a little tricky because you can't work it too much or it isn't flaky.  You have to roll it out and get the proper thickness without adding too much flour.  It takes time.  This pie crust recipe takes very little time and turns out great.  Pie crust isn't healthy no matter how you make it so this recipe is no exception.

Pie Crust

In a pie plate mix 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 t. salt

Add 1/2 cup oil (I used canola)  and 1/4 cup of milk (I used 2% but skim will work)

Mix incorporating the flour until you have a ball of dough.

Wash your hands if you haven't already and press the crust into the pie plate.

I still had some apples left from our trip to the apple orchard, so I peeled 5 or 6 apples and sliced them in a bowl.  I added 1/2 cup of sugar (truth be told I used a little more because my dad has such a sweet tooth) and 2 T. of flour.   Toss the sugar and flour mixture in the sliced apples.  At this point you can add a teaspoon or more of cinnamon.  I don't add cinnamon because I don't like a brown apple pie, but that is just personal preference. 

Now pile the apples into the unbaked pie shell.  They can be piled pretty high because they will cook down during the baking process.

Then instead of a top crust, I put a streusel topping on top.

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup sugar (more sugar if you like)
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
More cinnamon (optional)

Mix together until crumbly and sprinkle on the apples.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes until the crust is browned.

Apple pie with Streusel topping

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happy 13th Birthday To Our Granddaughter

Thirteen years ago today, November 3, 2000, our daughter gave birth to our oldest grandchild.  It is hard to believe that she is thirteen already.  It seems like yesterday that she was born.  In 2000, we still lived in Stoughton, WI.  I will never forget getting the call from my daughter around dinner time on November 2.  She said that it was time to go to St. Mary's hospital in Madison, Wisconsin to have the baby.  My daughter's husband was working in Madison, my husband had recently had cataract surgery and couldn't drive, and my daughter was ready to give birth, so that left me to drive to the hospital.  For some reason we took our pick up truck.  I don't have any idea why we took the truck.  I was trying to act calm as we approached the hospital and when we got to the front, I asked them if they wanted to drop Me off.  Sarah said "no mom, I can walk from the parking area".  I wasn't too nervous.  We went in and then we waited and waited and waited.  As it became clear that it would be a while, I took my husband home.  He had been sitting the entire evening in the back of the room clutching his coat.  I wasn't the only one who was nervous.  I tried to rest at home, but got up at 3:00 in the morning and went back to the hospital.  Pretty soon it was time and our first grandchild was born.  She has been a joy and as it turned out, our one and only granddaughter.  The next four grandchildren have been boys.

Today we had a little family party with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Even great grandpa was there.

Great grandpa with Sam and Jack

Aunt Heather, Mom Sarah, Ewan and puppy Piper

Through the years with Melissa.

Three months old

Melissa at 2 1/2 years old

Dance recital at four years old

Five years old

Nine years old

Eleven years old.

Then today...thirteen years old.

She likes accessories.  Her mom always liked to wear hats at that age.