Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas happenings...

I've been baking and making the last few weeks, preparing for Christmas goodies. Crocheting items for family and friends has been a must, and I will admit, I will be crocheting until I pull into the driveway of my parents house (I'm not driving, don't worry. don't crochet and drive, people).

I decided to make these for my dad and his infamous mustache: I had a pattern I was using, but it didn't work out (at all), so I made up this pattern. If anyone is interested, I could write out this pattern, it's super easy (and probably not technically correct, but it works!).. (I could not get this image to upload properly, hence why it is on it's side... you get the idea).

Also, made my mom's aunt mary's pizzelle cookies for steve's two grandma's... they both loved receiving them and telling us they were not going to share with anyone. ah, the holiday spirit!

and finally, I made this recipe by martha stewart (no lies, she has the best recipes that ALWAYS work)... they are called chocolate crackle cookies.
I used super, super, dark chocolate (85% cocoa, I don't know why I bought that bar... but when I went to use the package, I noticed it had been opened and someone snuck a piece of chocolate. not to my surprise, it was only a tiny piece. i asked steve why he ate it, and of course he thought it was going to be yummy chocolate which he thought he could sneak from me... well, it was so bitter, he only had a nibble and put it back!). anywho, i mixed half the super strong chocolate with another half of chocolate chips, and it made the cookies really rich and yummy! the kind of cookie you can have one of and be done with (or 3 in steve's case).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

oh, did i tell you i'm getting married?

for my wedding next October, I want to make as many items as I can... not only to save money, but it will be something fun to do while waiting for my day.

I saw crochet votives on BHLDN's website, and for $8 each, I don't know who would buy them. But I wanted them! and I knew I could make them cheaper than $1 a piece.

So, I'm saving all my old food jars (small ones, like little pesto jars, etc) and using my leftover yarn from other projects to crochet covers on the jars. I also have a ton of glass tea light holders from my sister's wedding. I think the different sized glasses and colors of our wedding (grey, yellow, red) crocheted on the votive will look better than $8 candle holders. Plus, I'm going to use real candles, not tea lights - will last longer and probably produce better lighting, (25 bucks for 80 real candles? yes!)

Here's the first one I made, and I have two others as well. Just waiting to eat some food and reuse the jars :)I just guessed on the pattern - double crochets with two chain stitches in between. Another one I made is all the scallop stitch - very pretty with the light shining through!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

alright, i'll update

my mom started a blog about her crafts and findings and whatnot. her blog is better than mine, only due to her years she has on me (i love you mom). you can check out her blog here! and go to her etsy store, she has some great vintage crafting supplies for super cheap. here's the link to her etsy store, Patalier!

So, I finally finished that granny square blanket. I estimated it took me about 130 hours to complete. Which is a pretty scary amount of hours, start to finish. Each block took me 1.5-2 hours to make, then I used a single crochet to attach all the squares together. The border is a round of double crochet, a round of treble crochet, then I used a scallop stitch to make a cute border. I don't think I will ever make a blanket out of 63 different patterns ever again.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

small kitchen updates

small kitchen updates? let's be real. i just bought a bunch of stuff. i have an overload of kitchen items (not a bad thing) but it made me realize i really need a kitchen with display cabinets. well, maybe two to keep things on display. i like to shove everything else behind the doors and forget about it. so this is my favorite nook in my kitchen :)

hurricane preparations

Preparing for the hurricane, Steve and I did a few things. First- buying food at the last possible minute. Second- filling the bathtub with water in case we didn't have running water (and needed to flush the toilet, not drink. priorities). and third- clear out the back yard.

Well, nothing happened with the hurricane. Everything is paved and runs away from our house. and our house is shielded by all the other houses, so hardly any wind. I was fine with that. Which is good because first - we only bought stuff for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and I don't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. second - our tub must have a small leak in the plug, because we woke up in the morning and all the water had drained out. and third - mr. peabody loves all our items from the backyard which were relocated into our house. not only does he love chewing on all my plants (what am i going to do in winter?!) but he sat on our porch chairs for 5 days (I finally put them back outside tonight). and gave me evil looks (like the one pictured) every time i got near HIS chairs.

So I got bored and made this cozy for a pint glass (filled with hot coffee!). I couldnt get a great photo, but you get the idea. it's mint green with two white stripes and a white bow. the bow looks overpowering, but it's just the right size.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

cooking and baking

my favorite meal to make has to be risotto (or my mom's pizza, because it's the best pizza you'll ever have). but the risotto is fun too, because i feel like it's one of those dishes that is served in fancy restaurants and it can be messed up really easily... so if you can make a good risotto, chances are, you rule! so i must admit, i rule! this recipe for mushroom risotto is from the cookbook "Vegetarian Bible" (woah, $3 on B+N.com.. a steal!). I got the cookbook from my parents a few birthdays ago, and i love the cookbook for all the photos! i only made one yucky thing from there (an apple pumpkin soup or something, not a good combination in liquid form). so i cook this risotto really well, no white wine required.

and no meal is complete without dessert. a peach strawberry pie. possibly too many strawberries, but still yummy.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Embroidery galore.

So here's some more of what I have been working on. A photo of the nautical embroidery I did for my house, which is now in my bedroom:

And an embroidery which I did for my new nephew, who was born yesterday. I forgot to take photos before I framed it (it was annoying to frame, so not taking it out), so that's why there is a glare, which is hard to get rid of. The pattern is by Andrea Zuill on her craft website Badbirds. The link for her free pattern can be found here.

And finally, I made an embroidery for my friends birthday coming up at the end of August. She has a rustic theme in her house, including brass branch hooks and curtain tie backs, gold mirrors, etc. I thought this pattern, also by Andrea Zuill (pattern is for purchace on her etsy website here), would be great for her theme.

The granny squares continue...

I've probably made about a dozen granny squares for my big blanket since I last updated. Updates are slowing down because of so much going on - really busy at work and coming home very tired. As well as my sister had a baby (so I've been making things for baby as well as buying things) and I'm going on vacation on Monday for 8 days. YAY!

Here are six granny squares I finished this week. And a photo of my favorite one of the bunch.. It took a long time to block this one and have it set nicely, so it's not perfect. But it was fun and really quick to make (probably an hour, versus the others which generally take me 1.5-2 hours each).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Embroidery experiment

I bought these wooden hoops to experiment with embroidery about 6 months ago. Typical lag time with buying items and actually starting the project is approximately 6 months. So, here's the almost completed project. I bought three hoops, all different sizes. In the smallest, I made an anchor, in the largest is a tattoo-esque pirate ship, and in the medium size hoop is... nothing. I can't think of anything nautical that would go with the rest. Any ideas? Also, I didn't write anything in the banner on the pirate ship yet. It can probably be 5 characters long. Any ideas for that?
And perhaps I will stain the hoops. I think a nice, dark cherry wood color would be lovely. On the close up photos, please excuse the cat hair. It's near impossible to get it out. of anything.

More granny squares....

Here are two of the same (!) granny squares in different color combinations. I love this pattern, it's so easy to read and it turned out perfectly. Great pattern for someone doing their first granny square, as you can't really mess it up unless you don't know the stitches. The pattern is by Adaiha and you can find it here.

Applesauce and Cupcakes

I have not updated due to lack of camera batteries. or my laziness. or a combination of both...

On Sunday, I made homemade applesauce (I can't wait for apple picking season... apples, pumpkins, apple pies, apple cider, apple cider donuts, more apple sauce). It turned out too sweet, which was fine for Steve because if he carried a purse, it would be filled with sugar packets to add to everything.

I also made graham cracker cupcakes (the original recipe calls them "S'more cupcakes" because you add chocolate and marshmellows to the top). Due to lack of resources and I didn't really feel like eating s'more cupcakes, I just made the graham cracker batter and my own vanilla and chocolate frostings to top them. I can;t find the recipe online to share, but it's pretty much substituting flour with graham crackers, and adding buttermilk and lots of butter. So the recipe made 14 cupcakes and I only had 2... which I was fine with because they were too dry and needed about 6 cups more of frosting on them to make them taste better to me... But Steve and our friends ate them, so that's okay.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I found this yesterday...

I don't know why I like this so much. It's a laser maple wood cut address book. Independence Hall is carved on the front. I want someone to make paper to fit inside for their own journal. Perhaps you want to do this?

It's selling on my etsy page here

Saturday, July 2, 2011

1/5th of new blanket?

I love putting together all the squares I've made so far. I try to wait until I finish 6-7 more so it looks more dramatic (like, "YES! I only have 70 more squares to go!!".........)
So here's the progress. 21 blocks so far. I'm thinking this is around 1/5th done. I need to learn that it's okay (and will be necessary) to repeat patterns. So especially the patterns I love, get ready to be made a few times!

& of course, Mr. Peabody claims my blanket as his own....

Friday, July 1, 2011

More granny squares....

And the pie I made was delicious! It was tart since I cut the sugar in half, but I balanced that out with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream. I gave my friend a few slices and she told me that I'm "in the wrong profession!".. aka I should be making baked goods all day... I WISH!

Anywho, here are two granny squares I finally completed from patterns in my new book. The square on the left is "#35 Tricolor Square" and the right is "#129 Anemone." Nothing much to say, other than my ratio of 1 granny per day has now dropped to 1 granny per week :(

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Apricot (and blueberry) Pie with Coconut Crumble

Another Martha Stewart pie recipe! In her June issue of "Martha Stewart Living," she had about a dozen pie recipes that I pulled out to make throughout the summer when the different fruits are in season. This week, I decided to make this pie, an apricot pie with coconut crumble. When I bought the apricots, I realized I've never really had an apricot. As in, never bought and apricot to take a bite out of an enjoy as a piece of fruit. I've probably had plenty of dried apricots due to my mother loving weird dried fruits, but never a fresh piece.

I thought I bought enough apricots to fill a 9" pie, but I was wrong. So to fill out the missing spaces, I added about a cup and a half of fresh blueberries. I figured you can never go wrong adding blueberries into a pie. And, halfway through making, I realized I only had enough brown sugar for half of what the recipe called for. So, extra organic cane sugar was added along with a secret mom ingredient. Oh, and I did toast sweetened coconut shavings for the top of the pie... yum! Which reminds me, where's my pina colada?

I was too excited to wait to post about the pie after trying, so hence it's still cooling in my kitchen. Hopefully the next post I make will be about how wonderful the pie turned out, not how horribly wrong my substitutions were and how you CAN go wrong adding blueberries.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Crochet Book!

I realized that trying to find decent, workable crochet blocks through free patterns on the internet is not only time consuming, but very frustrating. Sorry to say, but a lot of patterns out there aren't written properly so they turn out all wonky and wrong. So I finally caved and bought a book which has a lot of squares to continue with my blanket. The book is called 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans by Jan Eaton. I love free Amazon two day shipping.
Hopefully this will keep me motivated to continue making new blocks and complete my blanket in a couple of months!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Simple Blanket Squares

I started these squares a while ago and they were put on hold while I was teaching myself all the new granny squares. These are simple- in four colors and four stitch combinations. I want a simple blanket for my bedroom that won't over power the pretty quilt my mom made for me. And I also have to make approximately 60 squares, the reason why I started crocheting back in May in hopes to be finished by November when it's blanket layering season.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Real Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recently, Steve and I inherited a mint plant from his dad. It was a small mint plant, about 3 stalks big and in need of new soil and lots of water. A few weeks later, the mint had spawned into a plant with about 5 stalks and a foot taller. Since then, we have been pruning it - freezing some leaves, putting some in margaritas, using the mint to flavor our iced tea and water, and giving away bags full of leaves to friends to use. I know I don't have to use all the leaves- I could easy prune and freeze and forget.. but I really am feeling the need to get creative and use the freaking stuff. Out one friend made vegan mint chocolate chip cookies before and I was amazed I never though of the idea. She just used mint extract instead of vanilla in the batter to give the dough that minty flavor. I bought some mint extract a few months ago and did the same (but non-vegan... I love butter). So today I realized, what the heck, why don't I just put the REAL mint into the cookies?! So I found a recipe for both cookies and cooking with the mint (which is easier than you think... chop and add to batter). I used this recipe by eatpress.

The dough.

The cookies.

A close up. They turned out pretty well. They didn't flatten out like most cookies usually do when they bake (I honestly don't know the chemistry behind that.. the amount of baking soda?). And you can taste the mint, just not as strong as the mint extract (as expected). As I was browsing for other real mint cookies, I did find one that talked about steeping the mint in almost boiling water for a minute before use. Perhaps that would help bring out the mint flavor even more. Next time, which probably will be in a few days due to this freaky mint plant. Anyone need some mint?

Granny Square Experiment

I started to teach myself how to crochet last fall. Since then, I have SLOWLY progressed from making baby blankets that have a single stitch throughout to crazy different granny squares! Steve convinced me to buy this book, The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden, and since then, I have become more confident with reading patterns and stitching new ways. Also inspiring is Craftyminx's (Dana) blog, "A Granny A Day" - a project where craftyminx is crocheting a different granny square every day for a year to make various blankets. She links all the patterns and is very dilligent about updating a pattern if the stitches are off, or adding more rows if it needs to be a certain size.

So, I've been making about a granny a day for the past two weeks. I bought six yarn colors in hopes to complete a full sized blanket by winter time. All but one yarn skein is Red Heart Super Saver (besides the dark blue, which is Caron). Here's my color scheme:
The green is almost the color of my bedroom walls, so I'm hoping when the blanket is big enough, it can become my go to blanket for making the bed. And as much as I want to add more pastels and pinks and purples, I'll refrain for Steve's sake.

I've completed about 15 granny squares so far. This one I made about 5 days ago:
It's a pattern I found from craftyminx (find her version here) and the actual pattern from DROPS Design (isn't that blanket they made beautiful?) Anywho, my square is by far not perfect (I can see two mistakes) but I've realized that none of those really matter when you stitch the whole blanket together.. especially because most of my flubbers are on the last row when I'm finishing off the whole square, whoops! So long story short, I'll probably be updating with some of my favorite squares or milestones along this project because I'm pretty darn proud of what I taught myself!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Icebox Pie

Yesterday, I made this strawberry lemonade icebox pie. The recipe is by Martha Stewart and the recipe is found online here. I didn't realize the recipe takes all day - making, freezing, making, baking, cooling, refrigerating, making, broiling, eating - but I didn't have anything else to do on a boring Monday, so this pie stole my attention.

I never made meringue before and I was weary about making it because a. I have never made a meringue before or anything that must be whipped to an exact moment and b. I have never really like meringue. BUT! this recipe was easy to follow for making the merinuge, and it was actually really tasty!

The pie has been sitting in the fridge overnight, so it may be a little dry and the meringue may be tough, but that won't stop me from eating the rest!