Thursday, October 30, 2014

Things about fall

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Oh, fall.  I am just not sure about you.  Why does it have to be so dark and gloomy?  Why all the pumpkin spice everything everywhere?   How many minutes until I can go to the beach again?  Are we almost there?  I made caramel apples the other day, which is one of the five or so things I do like about fall, and I ate them so fast I bruised my gums a little bit.  Caramel and apples go together like caramel and apples, don’t they?  Here’s my recipe:  Buy some crispy, crunchy apples at the perfect peak of their apple perfection.  Then also (here’s my secret ingredient) buy this kit.  Presto, instant gratification is yours.  Making caramel apples like that is the only way I’ve ever done it, and they are perfectly good, although they always make me think of this:  once when I was young, my friend Richie’s mom made caramel apples the other way, in a saucepan on the stove using butter and sugar and cream and vanilla, and stirring it forever and ever, and then spearing an apple with a fork and dipping it in there, ohmygoodness.  The buttery golden caramel coating was an inch think, and so soft and gorgeous, and the pan on the stove was so coated in candy that it looked like she might as well just throw it away afterwards.  She casually plonked the dripping apples to cool right on the countertop, and we all hovered there, on a cold Friday night in October in Michigan, after the football game, maybe still in our marching band uniforms, suspenders up over white t-shirts, dark green wool pants, jackets discarded on a chair by the fireplace, plumes and spats and saxophones and drumsticks in a pile somewhere, wondering at this crazy level of love that makes a person use a candy thermometer and ruin a pan to making a treat that will stay in a person’s memory for thirty years.  I think of that every year, when the leaves start to litter the yard and the air in this farm town smells spicy and smoky; Richie’s mom making caramel apples from scratch, using the forks from her drawer to dip them, and then saying, “Who needs some cider?  How about a doughnut?”  and the bunch of us standing wide-eyed in her old kitchen, waiting for them to cool, the Tigers on their way to win the World Series on the TV in the other room. There was a bonfire later, a 20-foot high pile of brush from their farm, and we were sugared up and warm, warm, warm.  Golden. 

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In other, non-caramel  news, I have stitched up a cozy for my wonderfully fluffy but sorta silly-looking down-filled throw.  It is the softest thing ever, but it is, for some reason, covered in penguin-print fabric, and the penguins are holding up signs that say “Candy Canes: 5 cents.”  I love this thing so much I want to drag it everywhere I go, but the penguins…well, that problem was solved in an afternoon, with a stack of gray-toned and wintery-looking fabrics, cut in 10 1/2” squares and seamed together on the machine.  I backed it with a soft gray cotton sheet, and made an envelope closure on the patchwork side, secured with buttons and loops of ribbon.  The silly penguins with their candy cane marketing signs are safely tucked inside.

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There, caramel apples and down duvets; that’s two good things about fall.  I can’t think of a third right now. 

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19 comments:

  1. It's amazing how some memories stay with you! Even now if I have a cough or cold I want a big bowl oh my mums soup , sorts me out every time! In fact I have three batches saved in the freezer for emergencies !
    Frankie

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  2. That is the beauty of memories. The patchwork cover is stunning, love the fabrics used.

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  3. LOVE the caramel apple story. And I must see a picture of those 'orrible penguins because the cover is so lovely.

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  4. Love hearing stories like the caramel apples. What a great memory to bring out each autumn.

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  5. Nothing better then a quilt hanging over a footboard. Love.

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  6. Hi Kristen - I'm chuckling now because I feel quite the opposite of you - I love everything about fall! The cover you made for your down-filled throw is lovely - a very clever way to turn something you didn't like into something so beautiful.

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  7. I was surprised to see the fabric you used! I Just finished a quilt in the same colours :-)!
    Greetings from Holland. Xxx Katrien.

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  8. Always great to stop by. I am linking your blog tomorrow because you provided me with quilt inspiration. Jo x

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  9. My mouth is watering for those caramel apples. Despite the 34 degree heat we're having today it might be worth sweating over a stove for. Yum.

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  10. I adore Autumn...the wood smoke in the air...the crisp days, cool nights...pumpkin anything...spiced tea...mulled cider...caramel apples...anything apples...


    I say this often, but I love the way you tell a story...you have such a gift

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  11. What a lovely memory I could taste and smell the apples and feel the warmth of the fire and such wonderful friends! Just awesome, thank you Noelle

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  12. Things to love about fall? blue, blue skies, crisp air, orange and gold and red and brown on the trees and then falling, no twirling, to the ground, spicy smells of pine needles, cozy nights...so much to love.

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  13. Lovely fall post Kristen and way to re-cover a favorite blankie. It's raining here now and a caramel apple sounds about right. Next best thing is throwing some caramels into an apple pie before it goes in the oven. Drool.

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  14. 3. the smell in the air
    4. the color of the leaves

    all things I miss living in Florida.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  15. Wonderful telling of the caramel apple story! All the details were perfect, to transport us there and let us understand why that particular memory has stuck. And, really, you could make caramel from scratch--it isn't that hard!

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  16. I love fall and winter so much and tolerate the spring and summer.....I think you photos are beautiful!

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  17. lovely story and details! it made me laugh that the 'other way' to make caramel apples is the only way I've ever heard of. i don't think you can get microwaveable caramel apple wrappers in australia (and we only seem to have toffee apples, ie made with just a sugar & water toffee coating; no cream & butter. but cream & butter sound fabulous!). and about autumn: I do enjoy the armchair trips there when i read northern hemisphere blogs; especially when the weather is overly warm here!

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  18. I've made toffee apples a couple of times - the real way. Not good for the teeth.

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  19. What a beautiful post...I loved reading about the wonderful caramel apples and your memories of that time. Your quilts are so cosy.....and I love all the gorgeous knitting you do...so happy I found your blog :)
    Helen xox

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