Snow and memories

They told us it was going to get cold last Thursday night.  But, just a little cold.  One degree below freezing.  And, the climate in our backyard is more temperate than the weather in the rest of the city, so I wasn't worried.  I moved a few things.  Thursday night, Rob and Sydney moved some more. 

And then, it snowed in Texas.  It happens.  But, then it started to stick.  That almost never happens.  I've lived here 33 years, and I think it's only happened a couple times.  We normally get ice, not snow.  But, snow we got.


This is the only picture I will probably ever have with Christmas decorations on the house and snow on the ground. 
 (and in case that doesn't show up, which happens with edited photos sometimes, here's the original)

I never quite realized how much of the Prius is horizontal and glass until I had to try to scrape ice off it with a kitchen spatula.  Don't laugh.  It's Texas, y'all.  It don't snow here.  And, when it ices, we stay home.  So, that's what I ended up doing.  I'm sure my Cleveland co-workers thought that was funny. 


At guild the other night, a friend asked me to make a bib for the guild's boutique.  There's that smile again...Sure.  How hard can it be, right?  She only asked me to make one, but, uhm, there were two pieces of fleece stapled to that pattern that only called for one...what does that mean???  They did take me longer than I expected, but a lot of that was wasted picking fabrics and deciding what patchwork to use on the front and waiting to be inspired.   

I pulled down my gallon jug of 2" squares.  And, it worked.  I sorted through them and found fabrics I liked together and had enough of to make a block and I made one for practice but couldn't find a larger background that I liked with it, so for the next one, I chose all the fabrics at one time.  I made them assembly line style until the finishing work because they each took different thread for that.    And, this is what I ended up with. 

I think they're cute.  But, Rob and I both commented that they looked kind of store bought.  When we were in JoAnn's the other day to get a cotton batting, I picked up some fusible fleece to make some more.  I have a friend that's expecting and I'm going to be starting her quilt soon and thought a couple bibs would be a nice addition.  I might make another couple for the guild. 

When I was a child, holiday candy was one of the traditions.  You could go into my Grandmother's kitchen and there would be stacked tins of candy on a table near the door.  So hard to choose just one kind.  One of the candies was divinity, which is kind of like a marshmallow with pecans in it.  That one was my Dad's favorite.  Making divinity was a long, complicated process.  Here's my childhood memory of the recipe. 

Beat about a dozen egg whites.  Cook some syrup and five pounds of sugar on the stove until it makes a ball when dropped in water.  Pour it into the egg whites so slow that your children start to age.  Beat it with the mixer until somebody says you're going to burn that mixers motor up, then call in a man and have him beat it with a spoon until he thinks his arm is going to fall off.  Shape on waxed paper into thousands of bite sized pieces. 

Oh, how deceptive memory can be. 

My Aunt Jane was the master of divinity.  You had to schedule your day with Aunt Jane and she'd bring the mixer and you could make candy with her.  Some of my best memories are of them doing that with multiple Aunts in attendance, making multiple batches of candy at my Grandmother's house and laughing the whole time...well until the mixer started to get hot.  Then, it got real serious for a time as they all watched over it and prayed the mixer would make it.  Aunt Jane is gone now and I don't know if anybody back home makes Divinity anymore. 

I decided I wanted to make a batch for my Dad.  So, I found a recipe...BTW, it only takes three egg whites and a lot less than 5# of sugar.  And, I pulled out my good, heavy bottomed pot and my KitchenAid mixer and I cooked me some syrup and I poured it in very slow and I beat it until it held a shape.  And, I added about $6 of pecans and I made my candies.  And, as time passed, the began to flatten.  And, the flatter they got, the bigger they got.  The next morning, it was just a sheet of candy on the counter.  Thank goodness it didn't run off the waxed paper very much.  But, it tasted like heaven!  So, I rolled that up and threw it away and the next day, I gave it another go.  And, I really did beat it until I was worried the mixer would overheat and then I added the cold pecans and beat it with a spoon until I thought my arm was going to fall off.  And, then I shaped it into some candies that were about four bites each...because I was dang tired of candy by then. 

And, I sent it to my Dad. 

And, I got an email last night that they'd gotten it and it was good and they were enjoying it. 

And, I enjoyed a happy Christmas memory.  Doing something I watched my Aunts do many times. 

And, just like them, I stood over the mixer and prayed the mixer would make it. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  Work isn't going so well, but sometimes, it's like that.  If it was all fun and candy and sewing, they probably wouldn't pay me to do it, so there's that tradeoff. 



Anonymous said...

Oh, how I enjoyed your blog. Those are tears on my cheeks. Love the bibs. You always do a wonderful job on anything you do. lum

Mary said...

Christmas decorations seem to look so much better in the snow, but I'm sure you'll be glad when it's gone. We got part of the storm that Buffalo was playing in (not sure if it hit your news, football in the snow) so have several inches down. Don't know how many and not going out to measure. Just hunkering down and sewing. My favorite candy to make was the mints, all different colours. I think it didn't take as long as other candy.

Anonymous said...

Oh you made me laugh. I wish you would have taken a photo of your candy. It's unfortunate that things aren't great for you at work but it's wonderful that you have a sense of humor! It will get you through the tough times. Thanks for sharing. Mary

Carla said...

Too funny I love your recipe memory. Glad you found a recipe to follow. LOL
Wasnt' the snow pretty. We got about 1-2 inches in Cypress. I wanted to stay home enjoy and go out to take pictures but instead I was at work by 7am.

Have a great week

Gisela Suski said...

I am glad you had snow & not ice. Love the divinity story.

Rebecca Grace said...

I love that you were able to recreate your childhood Divinity candy and send some off to your dad! The vision of you out there scraping ice off the Prius with a kitchen spatula was a hoot, too. :-)

I wonder what about the baby bibs is giving off the store bought vibe? Maybe if you added contrast binding or some kind of trim or something it would feel more custom-boutique-homemade? Or a monogram with baby's initials, although you can't do that for a craft fair? I think they are cute, and would be a great use for orphan blocks.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Sharlene said...

Love your Divinity story. Reminds me of how much I miss my Grandmother's Divinity. You should have included a pic of your failed attempt and your successful one.