Fall Into the Holidays #13

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Fall Into the Holidays

Last week’s round was the most successful this year! Thank you to everyone who linked up!

It’s almost Christmas! Feel free to share your seasonal recipes, diy, crafts, and other related material. Link up as many new or archived posts as you would like.

I’ll be pinning all entries linked up to the Fall Into the Holidays board-please let me know if you want to be removed.

Please link to entries, and not your blog main page.

*Featured links will be posted next week. I’m trying to both bake and get my tree up. At least I’m finally finished with shopping. I think.

Click on the button that looks like a blue frog at the bottom of the page to view the collection.

By linking up to Fall Into the Holidays you are allowing the use of 1 photo from your entry as a possible feature.

Please link to entries, and not your blog main page.

Click around the list and leave a few comments!

I’d love if you would follow Horrific Knits on Facebook, Twitter or by email!

(Signing up puts you on a list for an email notification of future rounds. Please respond if you would not like to receive notifications either now or in the future. Thanks so much!)

Top Sources of Traffic, 2014

Unsplash

Unsplash

Trying to juggle everything I want to write about is sometimes difficult.

I want to write about knitting, about spinning, about websites I find, whatever the current monthly theme is. I have a post about eye shadow that I’ve been sitting on for six months.

Sometimes I write entries that are intended on being series-whether or not the series actually ends up going anywhere may be a different issue.

Sometimes entries are place holders, or ways of holding onto information for myself.

This is one of those posts. I normally dislike traffic posts because there’s normally a concrete number involved, and frankly, while I seem to have a delicate blogging ego anyway, I come away feeling vaguely disgruntled and jealous.

However, I am interested in seeing where my traffic comes from, which is ultimately helpful for knowing where to put my energies in 2015.

So, here are my top traffic sources for 2014. I’m only listing sources above a certain threshold, and trust me, the first well out strips the last in terms of number of hits.

1. StumbleUpon-StumbleUpon’s effect on my stats this year was actually heavy enough it earned its own post earlier this year.

2. Search Engines-This was actually my biggest surprise this year. I was expecting this to be a lot lower.

3. Pinterest-This was another surprise, I also thought it would be a lot lower. It is, however, a lot lower than what ‘experts’ in blogging will tell you that you’re definitely going to get. If anything, StumbleUpon and Pinterest should be reversed if the ‘experts’ were right.

4. Facebook

5. The Prairie Homestead (blog)-This site used to host a homesteading blog hop that I liked to link up to. Unfortunately, she has since stopped hosting it and I’ve never been able to track down the current hosts to see if it’s even still up. It might be and I’m just hitting it at the wrong times, I’m not sure.

6. Little House in the Suburbs (blog)-Another blog hop

7. Frugally Sustainable (blog)-Another homesteading hop

8. New Life on a Homestead (blog)- Co-host with one of the hops already listed

9. Being Frugal by Choice-(blog) Homesteading hop

10. Reddit-This might have been the biggest surprise of all of them, if we take StumbleUpon’s effects out of the equation. I personally don’t add any material to the site itself. Maybe I should try a blogging board over there.

So the big take aways from this for me are:

-Center on homesteading blog hops. I mentioned this earlier this year on my how-to on blog hopping, but it turns out that I really get little to no traffic on ‘mainstream’ or ‘mommy’ blog hops. So if I’m really short on time or patience, I should put my energy there first. Because ‘mainstream’ hops didn’t even come close to hitting this list, and while all hits are good hits, sometimes you really do need to prioritize.

-Keep on with the StumbleUpon. A very, very rough estimate of the average number of hits I get from StumbleUpon a day is in the 200-250 range. And that’s an average; an outlier day might be closer to two thousand. It’s happened, and for a blog my size, that’s sort of a big deal.

-Pinterest is helping me, sort of, but it’s probably never going to be the huge traffic driver that it’s made out to be. And that’s not just for my own content; I’ve noticed since the algorithm was restructured even pins with much better photos than mine are not getting any traffic. Unless it’s a woman in a top hat, and then that pin will get so many repins a day I’m tempted to delete it just so I don’t have to keep seeing her face in my notifications.

The Hot Sauces of Christmas

Pixabay

Pixabay

There is a store in the Galleria Mall that I want to move into.

It is nothing but hot food products.

Hot sauce, hot bbq sauce, hot jam, hot salsa, dried peppers…I just want to live there.

Mid asked me what I wanted for my Christmas stocking since I already have my big present (hint: it is related to penguins. Giant penguins). I told him hot sauce.

It turns out that we’re both terrible at Christmas-ing. We still need to put the tree up but neither of us seem to be in any great rush for that this year.

The big problem that we’re having this year is making the presents last until Christmas. I had asked him, specifically, for this hot sauce kit that I had seen that had five or six bottles of hot sauce that I’ve been eying for a few years now, and have never managed to get for myself.

My hot sauce collection stands as follows, including what I had before Christmas started:

-A Tabasco type that I use mainly for cooking

-2 different scotch bonnet sauces

-1 Peri-peri sauce

-Sambal Oelek

-Firestarter in various configurations

-White Zombi

-Tiger Sauce

-One @#$%ing Drop at a Time

-Berserker

-Frostbite

The Shining, in 2014

It’s an interesting study, reading a book every year.

A great many will not stand up to that type of constant reading. In fact, most of them won’t. I don’t think that’s the fault of the author, in fact, I think that the ability to do so lies within the interaction of the reader and the book.

What I can read seven or eight or nine times over, another person is going to not be able to finish at all. I respect that; there is a fairly long list of books that I ‘should’ have read, that if I read them at all, it was a slow and painful slog.

One of the interactions that begins to appear when you read a book enough times is that the book changes. The older that you get, the more life experience that you have, the more the book changes to reflect that.

This year, The Shining is about the ghosts of demons past, about how people won’t forgive if it makes them feel superior.

I don’t want to hand wave or downplay the violence in the book, or attempt to frame Wendy as the actual villain of the piece or Jack the hero. I don’t want to shy away from the abuse narrative, or the way that Jack constantly places himself in a position to replay his own dangerous, self destructive cycle over, and over, and over again. Jack’s weaknesses are very, very weak indeed and he really doesn’t deserve that much sympathy.

However. It does raise the question this year, how would this book had played out if Wendy had moved on? A lot of the tension that the Overlook manages to play off of is the fact that Danny can’t so much as sneeze without Wendy assuming the absolute worst of Jack. And yet she stays with him-hoping against hope that he’s changed. The way that this plays out in the movie isn’t quite as it plays out in the book, but the book is heavily pulling from the darkness of human nature. And one of those dark places is the place in our beings where we want to play the saint at all costs.

Wendy frequently comments, though often to herself only, that she wants to be nothing like her mother-the woman who weaponizes every relationship she ever has. Perhaps Wendy has failed miserably at this task. While she winces and cries every time those aspects of her personality that she got from her mother slip out-the reality of it is that well before the Overlook shut down around them, Wendy could have taken that boy out of the hotel and left. She could have chosen not to go up the mountain at all.

What is the role of her self-induced martyrdom in this narrative? Because maybe my personality is just cynical and harsh enough to feel this way, but this year I feel that’s what’s going on here. Wendy really wants to be right. She really wants to keep this past pain alive so that she has something to pull from in the future. If she is already well aware that Jack has already failed, then whatever happens over the winter can’t be that bad-because of that past failure. Further, if Jack is the demon then Wendy has to come out the saint, thereby completely circumventing the legacy her mother-as-monster left her.

But she could have. She could have left, or she could have taken the final step into what she already thinks that she has done, and is obvious that she hasn’t-she could have forgiven Jack, or at the very least, found peace in the awareness of his demons and the efforts he did make to change. Coming to terms with the past is not necessarily the same thing as hand waving past mistakes away, and she could have done that.

Thereby stealing the teeth out of the Overlook by removing the ghost of pain past it pulls out of both herself and Jack, and by extension, Danny with his fears of DIVORCE and the Bad Thing.

But of course, being human, Wendy can’t. So she feeds directly into the same system that seeks to destroy her.

Redrum.

Down and Dirty Fast DIY Candle Holders

Pixabay

Pixabay

I think that there is this weird idea that women hoard candle holders as some sort of genetic nesting drive.

Like, we all have candle holders the way that we all own eye lash curlers and 575,000 bottles of wine*.

It’s Yule, and Yule is a fire holiday (in some people’s wheel it’s THE fire holiday). Ironically, my log actually is a candle holder.

Beyond that and some cast iron pedestal pillar holders, which are ironically my boyfriend’s, I don’t own any candle holders anymore.

Which was a problem because I needed to burn a candle for weird and witchy related purposes.  Points working against me:

1. It was after dark.

2. I’m lazy.

3. I’m cheap.

4. It’s after dark.

5. I didn’t want to buy something for such a limited use situation.

6. It’s already after dark.

However-I have both canning jars and salt.

That’s right, you can make candle holders for odd sized or smallish candles with a canning jar and some salt. Canning jars are thick enough to handle high temperatures (that whole boiling and pressurization thing) and salt will neither burn nor melt when it comes in contact with candle wax. And it’s mad cheap, just buy the $.30 container from Aldi’s.

I used a 4 oz jelly jar for a very small, very thin candle (think an over-sized birthday candle). I filled it about halfway with salt, then wedged the candle in there. If there’s enough salt, the candle will stay upright.

When you’re done you can pick out the wax drippings, add more salt if necessary, and throw a lid on the jar. You don’t even need to throw the salt away and you can just use the same jar the next time you need to burn a candle.

* I -might- still have an eyelash curler left over from college, and it’s rare to see me with wine that’s not cyser. I fail at femininity.

Administrative Note: I Can’t Believe I’m Actually Saying This

[Any use of you in this entry is the general you, not a specific person. Because I obviously don’t know who is doing this. And yes, this is my ‘I’m highly annoyed therefore defaulting into snark’ tone.]

Background entry: We need to have a conversation.

I’m finding link backs from pro-anorexia and related forums on my tracker.

At first I thought it was funny.

Because there is one factor that I think people are overlooking, even though I know that I’ve talked about this before:

I am a self-admitted, self defined fat blogger. Congrats, you have figured out the obvious, I’m not sure why you think you’re the only one to have figured that out. I was born heavy, I’ll probably go to my grave heavy, are we on the same page now? I have a mirror. You’re not telling me anything I don’t know already.

Yay.

But I’m also a fat blogger with EDNOS [eating disorder, not otherwise specified].

What that means, since I refuse to actually join these sites, is that I’m assuming that you -might- potentially be using me as ‘thinspiration’. The irony, it burns. You managed to find a fat blogger who calorie restricts to the point of having a diagnosed disordered eating pattern.

Don’t you look amazing.

Frankly I don’t care if you don’t want to look like me. Because part of my EDNOS expresses as body dysmorphia, I don’t want to look like me most of the time. Beyond that…I really don’t care what you think about me. It took a lot of body therapy to get to that point.

Short answer: don’t throw sand in my own sandbox. I get that the Internet hates fat bodies, I get that the Internet thinks people who look like me are worthless, lazy, weak, disgusting, and a thousand different insults. I’ve been in the body positivity movement a long time-I’ve seen a great deal of it already. I also have a history with Internet snark, so I’m more than slightly familiar with trolling. I’m not necessarily inviting you to try it, but what I’m saying is that I think you’d find that I’m going to fall into the ‘whatever, get a hobby’ end of the spectrum.

If you’re linking to me on a support/recovery board, then this is what you need to do in the future: there is a contact email listed on the side bar. Use it. I don’t want to be drawn into something nasty, and end up triggered myself. I’m all for helping other people heal themselves…but I won’t be the punching bag that you use to do so.

 

Chilied Corn Bread

Pixabay.  As normal, I baked after dark.

Pixabay. As normal, I baked after dark.

A lot of the food bloggers I follow sing the praises of 84% or higher milk fat butter.

I’ve never actually been able to find it that high. But Tops has started selling a local Amish brand-and it was on sale for close enough to the price of regular store brand butter that I decided to try it.

I normally bake with unsalted butter but all they had was salted, so I cut back on the salt in the recipe. The change is acknowledged in the recipe.

This is a recipe from The Taylor Made Ranch, and I made a few slight changes. I used buttermilk in the place of milk, and the butter in place of oil. I like how it came out-firm but still nice and crumbly like I think that cornbread should be. We had this with steak, and it held its own against red meat.

*To cool the butter enough to avoid curdling the egg, measure your milk first and then add the butter to the milk. The milk cools the butter enough not to cook the egg.

Chilied Corn Bread

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup corn meal

1 egg

1 stick of butter, melted

4 tea baking powder

2 chilis, diced very, very fine

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tea salt (1/4 if you’re using salted butter)

1 cup flour.

Pre heat oven to 425.

Line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper, or grease well.

*I baked this as a ‘dump’ recipe-I literally put everything in the bowl at once and stirred. Mix very well, and it should come out fine.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

baking