Month: August 2014

Apple Cinnamon Whiskey

apple cinnamon whiskey


Fall in a bottle.

I opened the jar to decant this and my entire kitchen smelled like apples. Sweet, juicy, fresh apples.  Somehow this whiskey smelled more like apples than apples smell like apples.

*That’s one of the tricks to this though, don’t eat the apples after. All the apply goodness is in the whiskey, not the apples. I know you’re thinking fun times with the drunken fruit…just no. This would be a good project for unbruised seconds for that reason.

I read multiple blogs regarding this project and they were all pretty much the same: apples, cinnamon sticks, cheap whiskey. Cheap alcohol for infusions is actually important. Cheap actually does work better, it’s a simpler base for the flavors to work with. The flavors aren’t fighting the complexity of the alcohol, and the fruit or herbs mellow out the rough edges.

I put mine back into the original bottle and it’ll eventually work its way into the fridge. It should be shelf stable for up to a year however because of the alcohol content.

Apple Cinnamon Whiskey

1 liter cheap whiskey (the cheapest you can get)

4-6 apples

4-6 cinnamon sticks

1 very large glass jar or several smaller jars like mason jars


Put your cinnamon sticks into the bottom of your jar (or split among the smaller jars).

Wash and core your apples. They don’t have to be peeled. Fit as many apples into your jar as you can get-I managed to fit four apples into a half gallon jar.

Pour whiskey over fruit, and close.

Leave somewhere relatively dark and cool for two weeks, but it doesn’t have to be your fridge

Strain, and place in a clean jar (or the original whiskey jar).

cinnamon jar

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huckleberry love

delineate your dwelling

that’s what che said

flour me with love

The Beautiful Ones: Tuatha De Danann


Okay, now to play with the big boys.

I’m not going to even pretend I can pronounce these names. One of my friends is dedicated to Nodens [Nuada] and thinks that it’s funny that I call him Doyle (…I’m not sure if I’m hoping or not hoping that you get that reference…).

This is where someone like my friend Karen with her Masters in Classics would probably do better with an entry like this, but I haven’t been able to convince her to write for here yet. This is where Celtic, and Irish specifically, mythology, starts to get all timey-wimey.

Irish history can be kind of nasty to pull apart because, to use a gross oversimplification, there has been a folkloric habit of turning old gods into faeries. Ireland was invaded in waves and the pre-existing deities were absorbed into the myth ways, but as various fey spirits. One of these groups, the Tuatha de Danann, or Children of Danu, is one of the central groups-and probably the ones that are probably the most familiar to people.

They just don’t know it.

The group of deities involved in this era are the ones that we still see pop up in pop-paganism (think the fluffy stuff that’s easily accessible on-line): the Dagda, Nuada (who is actually going to be my lead in for the second half of this entry, because Doyle’s my boy), Lugh, Manannan mac Lir. However, somewhere along the way they were demoted. Depending on your source/your stance they turned into folk heroes (this is most obvious, I think, with the Dagda), or they shifted into a different aspect of the supernatural-they became something like the Sidhe.

I’ve heard it argued orally that they are the Sidhe. I’ve heard a lot of things about them in passing actually. I’d be interested to see how much of it actually makes sense in a sociohistorical light.

It does need to be stated that they do have their own mythology. A mythology that I’m admittedly horrible with, so you need to find another blogger for that.

You can’t just shove them into whatever faerie-esque role you would like them to be.

…Or can you?

This is where Nodens/Nuada/Doyle comes into play, and why I said that I lot more people are going to be familiar with them than they think. Because modern fantasy writers, especially urban fantasy writers, for whatever reason love turning them into elves. It seems to be a trope lately that if you want something like authenticity, you turn the Tuatha de Danann into an elf/sidhe/something prettier and more powerful than a human and roll with it.

Is this is a bad thing? Like most things, that depends on your stance on appropriation of imagery, I guess.

Tuatha De Danann

5 Lonely Recipes

5 lonely recipes

I saw someone doing this on Pinterest and I thought it was a cool idea.

That’s right, I’m trolling through Pinterest and forgetting who I have to source for an idea again. So consider this my citation for [unnamed blogger who isn’t me and will be named if I can find them again.]

I pulled the statistics for the last 365 days, and these are the loneliest recipes on my blog. Some of them it’s just because of the photo quality, I’m guessing (seriously, is this the year the sun forgot to come out?) or unfamiliarity (rarebit, I’m looking at you). But these are recipes that I enjoy making, that could use some love.

1. Apple Galettes

2. Rarebit

3. Salsa Chicken

4. Blood Orange Mini Cakes

5. Apple Butter

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Inspired Weekends #31


Inspired Weekends #31

This year’s Operation Autumn has started! You can make your own list or just follow along as I work my way through mine.

This year’s round of Fall Into the Holidays will be open on Tuesdays, starting the first day of Autumn.

All entries are pinned to the Inspired Weekends Pinterest board.

You are also invited to join my new blogger group board- Make Me, Bake Me, Craft Me, Inspire Me. Please make sure to read the joining instructions!

This is a free for all style link up-there are no rules! The only guideline is that each entry should be your own content-but feel free to link up round ups, link parties, giveaways, diy, recipes, tutorials, favorite entries from your archives, recipes, anything that you would like to share!

Featured Links

magazine art 2The Pin Junkie’s Framed Magazine Art

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

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!)

Roasted Tomato Sauce

roasted tomato sauce

I cook when I get stressed.

This is nothing new, I’ve talked about this before.

Today’s stress was at least productive-Mid had two job interviews. It turns out that the job interviews I stress out the most for are the ones I’m not the one going for.

So, no I didn’t exactly feel like a room, with or without a roof. I did however have a room with about five pounds of tomatoes in it because I keep swearing I’m going to fix the burner and get my canner going. However, Local Kitchen has a recipe for roasted tomato sauce and Local Kitchen hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

The thing though is, I didn’t follow the recipe because I don’t normally follow recipes if I’m not baking-any long term reader of this blog will understand that’s why my recipes are so weird. This probably falls at least relatively close, but I pretty much just baked and blended vegetables.

I was also agitated enough with the interviews I personally would not be attending that I didn’t photograph anything. Whoops.

Luckily, this means that this recipe is insanely adjustable. Use what you need to use.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Based on Local Kitchen’s Garden Sauce


assorted vegetables


fresh basil and rosemary

Apple cider vinegar

baking pan or lipped cookie sheet

Preheat your oven to 400.

At least core your tomatoes, but they don’t have to be skinned. Put them face down on your pan.

Place your other vegetables around the tomatoes- I used carrots, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and garlic. I peeled the onion but not the carrots or the tomatoes.

Bake at 400 for at least 45 minutes.

Carefully pulse in a blender or use an immersion blender, adding your fresh herbs.

Stir in a glug of vinegar.

*This does make the best sauce I’ve made yet, but I would pull back on how long I blended it or let the blitzed sauce cook down a little. I also would up how much seasonings I personally would use, but that’s a flavor preference.


Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

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miz helens

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pistachio project

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snippets of inspiration

be different act normal


will cook for smiles


The Thing About Secret Menus

the truth about coffee secret menus

I’ve discovered Stumbleupon, or rather, Stumbleupon discovered me so I’ve been returning the favor.

Last night I found a link describing the ‘Starbucks Secret Menu’ with all these wonderful sounding drinks-including something called the Penguin Mocha.

Being that two of my most favorite things in the world are penguins and coffee, when I made my once a week Starbucks run, I got me a penguin mocha.

Here’s the kicker though, and I do stress this with all seriousness: Starbucks DOES NOT have a secret menu. Most coffee bars DO NOT HAVE A SECRET MENU.

This is not information I have through word of mouth: I put myself through both of my degrees working as a barista. I was Starbucks trained for four years. There is no ‘secret’ to the secret menu. These are -not- drinks that baristas are trained to know.

A barista can definitely stack a drink for you that’s not on their main menu-the ‘secret’ of the secret menu is knowing what’s in the drink. Don’t even bother with the name-because even if the drink has a cutesy name, there’s a strong possibility that it’s not a consistent name from bar to bar. But, if you know the shots and ratios that go into your drink, it’s going to go a lot easier for everyone involved. Because while the Penguin Mocha is easier to say-if your barista has no idea what you’re talking about, things are going to get muddy fast.

Especially if you have new baristas-I’ve had Starbucks baristas get very confused when I’ve ordered a cafe au lait, because it’s technically a misto at ‘Bucks. Yes, I cringed a little inside. But you have to start somewhere.

The one that comes up the most often is the Captain Crunch frapp. I’ve had people insist that their location knew it by name. Okay, that’s awesome. I’m telling you that if you walked into the bar I was trained at and ordered that by name, we would have asked you what was in it. Because there was no paperwork handed down to us that listed a drink by that name.

So by all means, order a Penguin Mocha. They’re awesome. Just make sure you order a half white/half dark mocha with a raspberry shot.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!

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artsy fartsy

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posed perfection

snippets of inspiration

Horror Confessions: I Can’t Read Lovecraft

There are a list of authors that I just cannot read.

I might even like the media that they produce-assuming that I can see the movie version of their work. Yes, I said it. I feel like if more people were honest with themselves, they would say it too.

I can’t get into Lovecraft’s written work. I have enjoyed some of the film adaptations. I can get into the mythos-when worked by other people. It’s not that I dislike the essential horror aspect of his catalog. I just can’t actually get through his work.

There are a lot of reasons to hate on Lovecraft’s writing-the screaming racism of his work, and some of the writers of his generation make a lot of people not even attempt his writings. There’s a lot of really nasty stuff in there-plus that whole mangled, made up language aspect.

That’s not what does it for me, though, but it certainly doesn’t help (and conveniently doesn’t make its way onto screen).  I’m not even sure that I can tell you what it is that turns me off of Lovecraft-but my eyes just glaze over and I go watch Dagon again.

Haunted Western New York-The Sullivans

Repost from several years ago. Unfortunately, this is also in my pre-link to source era. As stated in earlier HWY entries-all stories are already established in the public record (i.e. media coverage, Internet discussion) prior to publication unless otherwise noted.

I thought that Memorial Day weekend would be a good day to post this, since the story of the Sullivans has been linked with Memorial Day in my head since I was in high school- my father used to camp out on the couch on Memorial Day watching as many war movies as he could find on AMC.

Since they were playing war movie marathons…that would be a lot.

I have mentioned I’m a Navy brat, right? Both my parents served.

The story of the Sullivan brothers is a fairly tragic one, and one of those horrible stories that destroyed a family but led to other families being spared the same trauma. During World War II, all five of the Sullivan boys enlisted in the Navy. Two of them had already served their tours, but had re-enlisted.

At the time, there was already regulations preventing family from being stationed together but the brothers enlisted with the requirement that they serve on the same tour. At this point of the war, the regulations preventing this type of behavior were not being enforced (I’m not a military historian, but I can imagine that if it meant getting able bodied men on boats, they weren’t going to be picky). All five of the brothers, ranging in age from 19 to 28 were stationed on the USS Juneau, a light cruiser seeing action in the Pacific Theater.

The Juneau was hit during the Battle of Guadalcanal, though she managed to survive the first torpedo hit. She was hit again later the same day near the weapons magazine and went down. It’s speculated that at least 3 of the brothers died at this time. Due to a desire to not  break radio silence, paperwork confusion, and other factors, a search for the approximately 100 survivors left in the water was not mounted until much later- leaving the men to fend off dehydration and sharks.

Eventually 10 survivors were pulled out of the water- but none of the 5 Sullivan brothers made it through the battle. Three were killed in the torpedo hits, one drowned, and the last went insane in the five days between the sinking and the search efforts, eventually going over the side of the life raft.

In an even more tragic twist to the story, the brothers’ family was not notified until 2 months after their deaths. This was due to wartime Naval security measures. However, after their parents were finally notified, the Sullivan brothers were treated as national heroes. After their deaths the Navy developed the sole survivor policy, which obligates that an individual who has lost a child or sibling during wartime actions be exempt from the draft or combat. However, the draft protection only stands during peacetime operations, and the combat exception has to be approved in times of war. This also does not apply to families with only one child.

The Navy would also name two destroyers The Sullivans- the first time a ship was named after more than one person. One of these destroyers is currently docked in the Buffalo Naval Park.

The Fletcher class Destroyer docked in Buffalo is said to be one of the most haunted naval vessels in the United States- it’s often listed with other haunted ships like the Queen Mary. The Sullivans saw action in the Korean war and World War II and most likely saw heavy casaulities. It may be that many of the first hand accounts (and there are many) may be the crew that were lost when the Sullivans was an active Destroyer.

However, at least one of the urban legends surrounding the vessel suggests that one of the most active spirits may be George Sullivan, the last brother to die, searching for his brothers. While I’m not going to say that it’s not possible, since there are two of these ships (the other was sent to Maine), why would he pick this one over the other?

People have reported being touched directly, lights will flicker in areas of the ship with no power, and items will move around seemingly with a mind of their own. At least one story reports that people refused to work on the ship on Friday the 13th because the Sullivans were said to be more active on that day than any other. One of the legends surrounding the ship suggested the entirity of the Battle of Guadalcanal is cursed, and that those who died during and directly after it, including the Sullivans, won’t rest until they are able to clear their Admiral’s name (who has been heavily critized for his actions during said campaign) (it would be interesting to see how this would be done- at least one source I’ve read has said that it would ‘require’ the The Sullivans to see active duty again to reclaim that honor, which seems unlikey for a Destroyer(s) mothballed in the 1970s).

Shepherd’s Pie

shepherds pie

‘Why would you name a blog Horrific Knits and expect people to read it?!’

Well, they do read it-to the tune of about 500 hits a day.

I haven’t talked about the name of my blog in a couple of years, and since people are ahem expressing their opinion on the subject elsewhere: the blog started out called Red Crow, Green Crow and was -only- fiber arts. I don’t know why I called it that. I just liked birds.

Anyway, after awhile I started pulling more and more horror content in with the knitting-so I had this idea of calling it Horrific Knits: Knitting has never been so scary. All very tongue in cheek, or something. Anyway, after awhile it evolving into the horror/folklore/homesteading mishmash it is now. I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea-but I’m a female horror reviewer. There’s a lot that has already been thrown at me, so I’m pretty laid back on the whole thing.

My thoughts go something like this: if you’re not going to read a blog based on name, you’re probably not my target audience anyway. This is where the law of happiness applies: you’re never going to make everyone happy anyway. Considering I’ve had people annoyed about everything Netflix calling a film a horror movie to how many pictures I use and where I place them, I can’t really let these things bother me.  Because I also get comments telling me that readers think the name is hysterical.

Seriously: you can’t make everyone happy. Don’t even bother trying.

What did make Mid happy? This shepherd’s pie. I made it the night before and put in the fridge over night. I baked it the next day. I might make all my shepherd’s pie this way now.

Shepherd’s Pie

*This is another one of my patented, recipe is adjusted to ingredients recipes. As in, I don’t have any hard and fast amounts listed.

-Root vegetables

-meatloaf mix, 1 package

-assorted vegetables like peas and corn

-1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

-about 2 cloves worth minced garlic

For the root vegetables-I used ‘however many new potatoes came in a box from the farmer’s market’, a bag of marked down baby carrots, and a sweet potato. Use whatever you have. You want maybe 3 cups total of mashed vegetables. Enough to cover the top of the pie.

Boil your root vegetables to fork tender and mash. Set aside to cool a little, they’ll spread easier when they’re not completely, boiling hot.

Brown your meat till just before completely cooked through. Near the end, add your garlic so it doesn’t scorch. Let meat cool a little.

In a baking pan, spread your meat over the bottom. Layer with the vegetables you didn’t mash.

Carefully spread and mush your mashed vegetables over the top.

In an oven preheated to 400, bake for 10-15 minutes.

Remove and cover with cheese.

All to bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

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Returning to Spirit Photography

ghost month 2014

If you have been following HK on Facebook (and why are you not?) you’ll know that I promised to return to the subject of spirit photography.

I wrote about the practice of spirit photography a few years ago-the practice of manipulating photographic negatives to create double exposures involving images of the (actual) dead or people appearing to be dead (there were, at least according to Internet legend, cases where the ‘ghost’ was alive and kicking at the time of manipulation).

That entry was a very, very basic and shallow overview of the subject, because while I would love to give truly in-depth, JSTOR worthy examinations of subjects this is just not the venue for that time of research. And there are a few subjects that I should probably redo the research on, as I’ve heard hints that the sources may not be as solid as I thought. The sorrows of being a blogging social scientist, that you worry about such things in your free time.

This post will be looking at one thing in particular: our response to spirit photography, 100+ years ago. This will purely be me putting together my theories on the subject based on a couple of years of reading in passing-what I’m saying is that this is coming out of my theoretical imagination, and therefore, not backed up with sources.

(That’s how a sociologist says that they could be, and probably are, wrong.)

One of the main responses to spirit photography that you come across in the comments on Internet articles is speculation on the nature of belief. As in, these photos are so very, obviously faked that how did they manage to get past anyone at all?

There are two possible factors at play:

1. We are not taking our own lens into account

2. They didn’t. People knew they were faked right along-and didn’t care

1. Our own societal experiences

We forget that the technology of our time was not always a constant. I have already met people who can’t imagine a world without cell phones. I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2006. In the space of 8 years, less than a decade, the cell phone has gone from something that had no place in my life to being such a societal standard that it’s assumed that they’re eternal. Let’s not even touch the impact of the development of the Internet.

I have heard stories of the first motion pictures scaring people so badly they ran out of the theater. The actual presence of something on the screen, regardless of the lack of ‘true to life’ translation that we may or may not have today, may have been enough to panic people. This may or may not be a complete urban myth but I feel like it illustrates the point regardless.

We are looking at these photos with a lens that has trained us to expect more and more subtly in our photography. When we live in a world where computer manipulation is so prevalent that we implore people to remember that the photos in the media don’t actually look like the people they represent– it’s easy to forget that there was a time when we didn’t have that sophistication of semiotic understanding.

That is to say, there was  time when we didn’t know what to expect from a photograph, let alone what a faked one looked like.

2. The Presumption of Innocence

My suspicion is that this is much more at play than the first theory.

I read a book, and I do apologize for not remembering which one it was, that stated for the first time I had seen in print that people knew full well that classic era B-horror effects were terrible. As in, there was no escaping the fact that Harryhausen’s monsters were lizards with things strapped to their backs. They just didn’t care; the audience was willing to suspend disbelief for a lot less than a world full of computer driven effects.

This is where my money lies: there were plenty of people who were willing to place faith into Spiritualism. There were also a great number of people who rightly assumed that it all a hoax and the ectoplasm was cheesecloth. There were debunkers right along-in fact, the main spirit photographers barely made into the 20th century, if that long.

I’m not willing to go so far as to say that these photos were parlor games-if only because I’ve read enough to suggest that a great deal of money was conned out of people, so at least someone had to be putting weight into the reality of the art. I am, however, suggesting that it may not have been as many people in Western popular culture behind it as 2014 Internet culture seems to want to think there was.