Saturday, December 24, 2011

Star Wars Crochet

My oldest sister has always been a bundle of creativity and competency woven together. When my girls were little she made them a doll swing out of macrame. It hung in their bathroom and supported a doll that she had also made--a baby doll with four changeable, embroidered faces. On the shelf behind that sat a ceramic giraffe and a bunny rabbit with silver ears--crafted and painted by their amazing auntie. Somewhere in the attic, those toys are packed away--treasures from the past.

So it didn't really surprise me when my niece posted pictures today of the Christmas present my sister was currently crocheting to be enjoyed by the next generation--my great nephews: A Star Wars Collection!

Here are the droids: C3PO and R2D2.

And Yoda, the little green guy.

This is Obi-wan with a removable cloak.
Chewbacca the Wookie, Hans Solo, and a random Ewok.
Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. (It's easier to see her hair in the group picture.)

The evil Darth Vader with a storm trooper body guard poses midst the trilogies on the shelf.

Boba Fett is still on the spool, but it won't be long before she gets her crochet hooks into him and completes the set.

I don't know where she got the pattern for these, but I've had several people suggest she quit her day job and produce them full time. She's ready to move on to the next challenge--May I humbly suggest LOTR.

And here he is in all his green, orange and black.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Being Schnetka Sponsor

There are a few drawbacks advantages to being senior sponsor, one of which is the experience of making and baking schnetka for the hoard of hungry citizens who somehow found out about our unique little Christmas desert and are too lazy unskilled to make it for themselves. The desert consists mainly of sugar, flour, butter, cream and cinnamon. It's like eating white fudge and cream pie, but better. Eat one of these little beauties and you can fill your calorie requirement for the whole day.

Some of our  highly addicted more enterprising students have been known to buy an entire dozen of the little pastries, hide them in their lockers, and, through careful rationing, make them last an entire quarter, just eating a bite a day, which is enough to get them past algebra the 10 o'clock morning slump.

Every year our demand gets higher. This year we have made just over 200 dozen. It really takes a crew of six people to churn out more than fifty dozen in a morning, but if the assembly line moves just right, it's possible. Two weeks ago, under near perfect conditions, we managed to make 89 dozen in seven hours, and that was counting clean-up.

That highly successful operation was just enough to make me foolish optimistic about making schnetke for my own Christmas gifts this year. We have a church full of loving  parishioners, and I thought, for once, I'd like to do something special for them.

Now it's a well-known fact that all of our church ladies can cook circles around me. Our pot-lucks are so famous we usually keep them secret or we'd end up with people from Minnesota and Mississippi in our fellowship hall. I usually bake a ham, because you really can't go wrong with that, and macaroni and cheese, because the kids will eat that, and I leave the fancy dishes and delectable deserts to those who really are competent chefs.
Even so, more brave than bright, I arose early in the morning, went up to the large church kitchen, made little stations as if I were going to have my normal assistants, and donned an apron.

After the first four batches, I called down to the house for help. Turtle came in, and I promptly sent him to the store for more flour. Claye came up to the kitchen, pinned her hair back and took over the job of rolling out the dough. I have to say I've never seen such beautifully rolled dough. (Compared to her normal medium, dough is easy, although she did complain a little about my wimpy little wooden roller)

Anyway, the day went well. By five o'clock, we had made three hundred schnetka without dropping or burning any. We did have a slight hitch, however. The pans I bought--all eight of them--were too shallow. Most people would have recognized that fact, after having baked 200 dozen, but I'm a study in obliviousness, and only became aware of the fact when both ovens began smoking. The gooey stuff was pouring over the edges of the pans and catching on fire at the bottom...schenetka flambe!

After that I started using cake pans and the gas oven. There were no more disasters problems. The fire department didn't ever catch on, and Turtle helped me scour the racks and gently ease out the charcoaled sugar. Today, I'm going to deliver the treats and go work on cleaning the ovens some more before the church ladies see them.

"So are you going to do this next year?" he asked, with all the cheery tactlessness innocence of a bystander late-coming, assistant. "because if you are, we need to buy the right pans."
"Nope. It always takes me a few years to forget the difficulties and tackle jobs like this again.
Next year, I'll bake cookies or something. After all, I now have 8 cookie sheet pans."

Here's a link to the recipe. I'm hoping if enough people learn to make their own schnetka, the job of senior sponsor will attract more volunteers.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Prepare a Place

Harry Brioche Prepare a place,
a quiet place.
Shut out all the clamor,
Wait there, alone 
He'll come

Moses built a heavy tent in the winds of howling wilderness.
Without was stench and the strident sound of a murmuring multitude;
Within, the smell of incense and the  quiet voice of God,
And Joshua with a patient face...listening.

David turned a crumbling cave into his sanctuary.
So while a jealous murderer scoured the landscape with his armies, relentlessly pursuing a one-sided war,
The psalmist cheered his weary soul with hushed and solemn songs in that
Hidden, holy place.
Manasseh, evil monarch taken captive into Babylon,
surrounded by dank walls of shadowed stone
caged up to face his own great wickedness
met God, and the cell became a refuge
more sacred than his once-consuming throne.

The mighty Nebuchadnezzar
Grass-grazing like an ox
While his million subjects turned their faces...
From the lunacy that locked him all alone into a raving world apart
Alone, he met the king of Heaven,
under a silent, dewy, dawn...and then he knew.

It need not be the finest hall
Gilded, jeweled and fragrant.
Just a place...a quiet place
where you invite a quiet chat
with your creator.
If you prepare the room,

He will visit.

Mary prepared an humble, little bed
A place of peace
In the middle of a turbulent night.
And God Himself came quietly to fill it
Slipping into the world
From an open door in Heaven
To meet mankind

Prepare a place,
a quiet place; shut out all the clamor,
And wait there, all alone with an open heart
Just wait...He'll come