Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What's New?

Hello! I have been gone for a little while but I am back with some updates!

I have decided to post some pictures of outfits (mostly dresses) that I think are cute so here is my first:

I recently got this dress from Kohl's and I love it! It is black shiny lace over a tan underdress and a black ribbon tie around the waist. The neckline is my favorite part! It is great since you can dress it up for a party or pair it with a sweater to dress it down for casual wearing. I wish the picture quality was a little better, but I'll get the hang of it eventually!

I was recently browsing Ravelry and this pattern was in the "Hot Right Now" box and I instantly fell in love with the idea! It is called Ten Stitch Twist and it is quite a neat blanket! I have around 1700 yards of a yarn from Stitches Midwest that is begging to be touched so I cast on a few days ago! Here is my progress so far:

Mmm how about those colors? And the details of the new camera I got for Christmas! Finally have graduated from 2 mp phone camera to 16 mp digital camera and it is making all the difference so far!

And NOW I have a little DIY project I have just completed this very hour!

It has always been my joke to say "the time is now" whenever someone asks me the time and I recently found some watches on Etsy which have the hands removed and say "Now" on the face of them! They sell for around $30 but I thought I might be able to make them on my own.

I bought this watch from Kohl's on clearance for $6 and this sheet of sparkly purple alphabet stickers from JoAnn's on clearance for $1.

First, I popped off the back with a flat screwdriver, bent the metal rod connecting the time setting knob to the time part itself. Then I took out the rubber ring, the plastic filler, and then took out the watch face. Using the pliers, I cut the second, minute, and hour hands off. I used a permanent marker to black out the name of the watchmaker and then centered my sparkly stickers around the center nub that was left from the hands.

I reassembled the watch and put a few dabs of super glue to hold the watch face in place (since the bar that held the watch face in place was severed before). I also wanted the knob on the side to be there so I put a dab of super glue on the hole and stuck the knob back in place.

Ta Da! I am now in possession of the most accurate watch in the world! Not to mention the girliness of the sparkly letters! 

I saved $23 dollars and got to customize my own colors! 

*Whew* So that is about all I have been up to lately! I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas so far!

Monday, December 24, 2012

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Hello again! I am here to say that I will be home for Christmas and there will be more blog posts coming your way soon.

Things have gotten really hectic around here between school work, college applications, and scholarship applications and I have hardly had a chance to breathe let alone knit or bake anything! Unfortunately we have not had our finals yet (after break) so there is still a lot of work to do and I cannot knit the break away, but I will definitely post some Christmas things and what I have been working on lately!

Thank you for sticking with me through this crazy time and I will be reentering the community soon!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Pies!

This year we are having Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma's house as usual and I was assigned two pecan pies and one pumpkin pie. Pecan pie was the very first pie I ever made around 4 years ago and now pie baking is kind of my claim to fame in the family.

As usual, I jumped right into the recipe for the pumpkin pies without really reading the recipe all the way through and ended up with the ingredients for four pies instead of only two... luckily we have enough pie tins to use them all and enough friends to share them with!

All the spices and eggs needed to make the pumpkin pies. I just love the little pinch bowls; they make me feel like I am on a cooking show!

I decided to get a little fancy with the crust and cut out leaves from the extra dough to line the edge of the pie. I poked holes on the back of the leaf and the pie crust edge and then....

...put what I have dubbed "baker's slip" (mixture of flour and water similar to the consistency of sculpting slip) and stuck them on, slightly overlapping the leaves.

The pie rose a little more than I thought it would, but the leaves are still visible.

Tada! The process was tedious but the extra time put into the leaves paid off I think! I wish there was a way to mend the slit in the side I made to see if it was done...

My lovely pecan pie! No recipe has ever seemed to have sufficient nuts so I always add to extra handfuls and everyone seems to like the extra nuttiness. 

And now they are ready to go to Grandma's house in the convenient pie carriers I recently received!

I am very thankful that my family will be all together this Thanksgiving and am really looking forward to dinner tonight! My favorite dish is definitely a toss up between mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole with marshmallow fluff!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Package for Me?!

Everyone loves getting a package in the mail and today I received the yarn I ordered online from The Loopy Ewe on Friday!! This is the first time I have ever ordered yarn online, but I signed up to be a volunteer knitter over at Delicious Stitches and the yarn she suggested isn't available until next January; past my deadline! So I searched all over the internet to find another brand with a similar colorway and settled on Cascade's Heritage hand painted sock yarn in the colorway Ice Caves:

It is so pretty!

The yarn is so soft and the colors are so delicate; I cannot wait to make the legwarmers! (I am knitting them for a book so I will only be able to post pictures after receiving permission or the book is out!)

A handwritten note was included with the yarn purchase from The Loopy Ewe!  Not only am I impressed with the fast delivery (shipped the day I ordered) but the owner took the time to make a personal note with a cute little doodle! It really brightened my day! I would definitely recommend them for any yarn or other craft related purchases. 

*Blast from the past* Remember this yarn I spun and plied with beads and glittery thread?

Well, I have at last put it to good use in a cowl (yes, another cowl; what can I say?)

Once again, I had no pattern; this is just an improvised crochet pattern. I chained 60, joined it in the round with one twist (it was a little awkward for the first row), then the rest was worked with a double crochet in every other stitch and chaining one in between to maintain stitch count.

Sits nicely! Not so much for neck warmth as a pretty accessory, but I really like it! Someone already asked me where I bought it from and they were completely shocked when they learned I made it completely from a pile of wool! 

***I really need a real camera to take pictures that accurately portray the color and details of my projects. Adding it to the Christmas List! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Catch-Up Day!

This week has been pretty busy so I am going to do a post today about everything I have accomplished this week that hasn't been posted and is noteworthy!

I am trying to keep up with crocheting my 1890's shawl from Kline Creek Farm but I keep running out of yarn! This week I made time to spin some more of the blue yarn:

Ah, haven't spun in awhile! 

My shawl is coming along well! I am about 3/5ths done.

Looking shapely so far! I like the way it drapes on my shoulders!

The real problem here is that crocheting just uses up the yarn faster than I can spin it! At least I have one ball of the blue left as of this moment... that ought to last me a few hours. :)

My other Spanish teacher has returned from her maternity leave (we missed her so much!) and I knitted this hat for her little girl using a modified version of the Aviatrix Baby Hat I found on Ravelry! I really liked the pattern but wanted to modify it to make it a little more delicate. I did not do the ear flaps or chin strap and added a little salmon crocheted flower on the side:
Eeee so cute! I just love the pattern!

Simple flower: crocheted ring with 16 chain petals!

This hat was a little bit of a learning experience for me because I have never worked with wrap & turns before! This pattern was a great way to ease into this technique and I now understand how it can shape garments.

Remember this crazy yarn from my Art Yarn Extravaganza class?

It has been knitted into a cowl:

I am absolutely in love with cowls now and this one is so perfectly crazy and colorful! I cannot wait to wear it this winter! I just need to dig my winter coat out now and sew the buttons back on it...

And finally, I made some Cardamom bread earlier this week! Cardamom is a spice that is used in Scandinavian pastries and Turkish tea according to the package and I first tasted this bread at Kline Creek Farm around 6 years ago and it kind of is a sweet bread:

It is so pretty! (Tasty too!)

The braids make it look so fancy! I used this recipe here

Well, that about sums up my week! What projects have you been working on lately? 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Ah, and so my favorite month of the year ends on a satisfying note; Halloween!

Now everyone knows the best part of Halloween is picking out a costume that really suits one's personality and so it is a decision that I do not take lightly year to year. This year in particular I told myself to break the mold and dress up as anything so long as it was NOT historical as my costume has been the past 9 years (50's girl, 2 20's girl costumes, Ancient Greek princess, Civil War era girl, Jane Austen, medieval princess to name a few.). Eventually, I was sitting in my bedroom reflecting on the world/staring at my wall when my poster inspired me!

Announcing my costume 2012:

Rosie the Riveter! 

Me and my best friend of 14 years, Jenn! 

Okay, so I guess it is still a historically inspired costume; but everyone said it really fits my personality! So when people think of me, they also think of World War Two American propaganda posters? Or something like that... I do think this time period is really interesting though, especially the whole war effort. It is really amazing to look back and see how much people supported the war and how patriotic all the citizens on the Homefront were. There has never been anything like it since then and probably never will be again.

I also carved a pumpkin inspired by my favorite Gothic Poem! Well, drew on it mostly... 

Edgar Allen Poe and the Raven (Quoth the latter, "Nevermore"). 

One more little interesting tidbit: Every year my dad's coworker puts together a huge decorated scene in his yard with a pirate theme. It started out around 5 years ago very small and has grown to be quite an attraction in our suburbs! The house has been featured on the local news stations and newspapers and they estimate thousands of visitors each year! It is fantastic, but don't take my word for it!

Pirate ship back, and some pirates, towards the right in the back is a jail cell.

Side of the ship with giant octopus and lots of skeleton pirates!

Pirates hanging around on the pier.

More Skeletons hanging around on the pier with their barrels of rum!

A pirate lost at sea, a little island and all the waves!

Unfortunately the pictures do not capture the immense detail and incredible atmosphere of the whole "exhibit" but hopefully you can somewhat see how awesome this is! 

I hope everyone had a great Halloween whether they went trick or treating, costume partying, or just enjoyed the last day of October! Let me know what you dressed up as or what impressed you this year in the comments!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Knitting in A Doll's House

No, I have not become a victim of a shrink-ray gun. But I HAVE discovered a knitting reference in Henrick Ibsen's play, A Doll's House that is so ridiculously humorous, I absolutely must share it.

"Helmer. Is this yours, this knitting?

Mrs. Linde (taking it). Yes, thank you, I had very nearly forgotten it.

Helmer. So you knit?

Mrs. Linde. Of course.

Helmer. Do you know, you ought to embroider?

Mrs. Linde. Really? Why?

Helmer. Yes, it's far more becoming. Let me show you. You hold the embroidery thus in your left hand, and use the needle with the right--like this--with a long, easy sweep. Do you see?

Mrs. Linde. Yes, perhaps--

Helmer. But in the case of knitting--that can never be anything but ungraceful; look here-- the arms close together, the knitting-needles going up and down-- it sort of has a Chinese effect--."

[Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll's House. 1879. Lexington, KY, 2012. pg. 73 Print. (unknown publishing company)]

First of all, let me clarify a few points about the story for those of you unfamiliar with this play. Helmer is a condescending husband of the main character and Mrs. Linde is the main character's widowed friend who makes a living for herself. The play takes place in the late 1800's and is supposed to make a point about men's view of women as lesser creatures during this era.

That being said, I sure am glad I read this! Here I was thinking that the movement of the needles was a pleasant, soothing rhythm, but it has an exotic, up and down look about it! Silly me. I am going to burn all my needles and take up embroidery IMMEDIATELY*. Who wants my stash?**

In all seriousness, what do you think of that description? I had to stop and laugh for a good 3 minutes about that. I mean this guy is so controlling, he can tell an essential stranger that her craft is ungraceful and she should change it immediately. And the knitting needles really don't go up and down that much, do they? Did Ibsen ever watch someone knit? I am not so sure he did. The movement is so subtle unless it is a beginner who is trying to mimic what they have seen in cartoons on TV.

Ah well, like I said, just thought I would throw that excerpt out there for everyone to think about; please share your thoughts below, I am curious to hear your take on it!

Since that was such a long post with no visuals to go along with it, here are some cat pictures as a reward for getting through all that:

No, that's not a speck on your screen, it is a bug that Biscuit is examining!

Hmm, I really don't remember buying this yarn at the store... 

PS: I have found several other knitting references in literature so this is going to be a little feature! Expect to see some more references as time goes on and I collect more of them!

*I am not trying to make fun of embroidery in anyway, it is a beautiful craft and I give props to everyone who has the skill to make such artful creations using this medium!

**That was a complete and utter joke; it even pained me to write it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tiramisu and a Shawl

Last night I decided to make tiramisu because it is delicious and we haven't had anything like it in awhile! I never made it before, but I that has never stopped me in the past so we went to buy all the ingredients. Even though I'm Italian, we have no family recipe or anything, so I did a little research and settled for a basic one (here).

The only downside to this recipe was it said I needed a double boiler which I don't have so...

...I made my own! Just took a small pot with water and made sure the bowl could sit on the pot without touching the water inside and there you go; saved $40 and a trip to the store!

The recipe was actually really easy, the hardest part was stirring the sugar and eggs (above) for 10 minutes (and it wasn't hard, just tiresome). I had my sister whip the cream while I stirred so it could be put together faster; total prep time was probably only 20-30 minutes.

I was slightly skeptical that the only liquid  soaking the lady's fingers in the dish was 1/3 of a cup of coffee liqueur, but I went along with it and put the whole thing together:

Mmm layers!

The top dusted with cocoa and chocolate shavings. I used baking chocolate, not semisweet chocolate because the filling was really sweet already.

We cut into it after dinner after it had set for around 3 hours. It was a little hard; the lady's fingers weren't very soaked (as I might have guessed) and looking back I should have brewed some espresso and mixed it with the liqueur before putting it on the lady's fingers so it was perfectly soft.

Fantastico! The taste was delectable despite the lady's fingers being a little firm! 

Overall, I would give this recipe an A for the custard and presentation but a C for ingredients. Adding more liquid to the lady's fingers before putting the custard on top would have made a world of difference. We will definitely make this again sometime with that one adjustment! If only marscapone just wasn't so darn expensive...

On the fiber front:

I'm working on crocheting (*gasp* she's not knitting it??) a shawl to wear with some handspun wool yarn I made. I don't have a real pattern, but I 'm crocheting it from memory (I saw a similar one I liked somewhere else)

It is basically all double crochet in 10 different panels with increases to make a circular cape-like garment! The only problem is I am crocheting faster than I am making yarn! So far I have run out of yarn twice and had to go make more... and now I have no idea how much yarn I have used for future references. Ah well, maybe next time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My First Patterns

Hello! I have been absent for a while because there are so many deadlines for college applications and scholarships approaching along with all the homework of my high school classes but I have come back with the patterns for my Captain America inspired gear!

*Disclaimer* I just made these items freehand and then wrote the patterns down when they were requested so I don't know if they are perfectly clear. Let me know if there needs to be any clarifications and I will be happy to adjust the patterns!

 Captain America inspired Shield Cuff:

Yarn: Worsted Weight Acrylic; Red, White, Navy Blue (I used Red Heart Super Saver)
Hook: Size H (It doesn't matter the size too much)
Tapestry needle


In Navy Blue:

Chain 7, join in the round with a Sl st into the first Ch

Round 1: Ch 1, 6 sc into the center of the circle, sl st in 1st sc to join round. (6 stitches)
Round 2: Ch 1, 2 sc into each stitch of this round, sl st in 1st sc to join round. (12 stitches)

In Red:

Round 3: Ch 1, *1 sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc* around, sl st into 1st sc to join round (18 stitches)

In White:

Round 4: Ch 1, *1 sc in next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc* around, sl st into 1st sc to join round (24 stitches)

In Red:

Round 5: Ch 1, *1 sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc* around, sl st into 1st sc to join round (30 stitches)

Weave in ends.


In any color (I used Navy Blue), attach yarn to one side of shield and ch as many as needed to fit the wrist/arm of the wearer. Attach the yarn to the other side with sl st. I reinforced the chain by sc in each chain across the wristband and wove in the edges.

Winged Headband:

Yarn: Worsted Weight Acrylic, Navy Blue and White (Again, I used Red Heart Super Saver)
Needles: Size 7 Circular needles (You could use a 6 or 8 also, straight needles will work if you don't            mind stitching up the seams)
Tapestry Needle
Crochet hook (size G or H; not too important)

CO 68 stitches (this may have to be adjusted for a smaller or larger head, this fit's my average head snugly)
Work 11 rounds in Stockinette Stitch
BO all stitches, weave in ends.

Using the white yarn, use a tapestry needle to stitch a letter (A) onto the front of the headband using the duplicate stitch.

For the wings, figure out where you want them to sit on your head. The wings on my headband are 9 stitches out from the A. With the crochet hook and white yarn, attach the yarn to the 9th or 10th stitch out from the A in the 3rd stockinette stitch from the bottom and
Round 1: 1 sc in each of the next 5 stitches in a vertical line.
Round 2: Ch 1, 1 sc in next 4 stitches
Round 3: Ch 1, 1 sc in next 4 stitches
Round 4: Ch 1, 1 sc in next 3 stitches
Round 5: Ch 1, 1 sc in next 3 stitches
Round 6: Ch 1, 1 sc in next stitch
Round 7: Ch 1, 1 sc in next stitch.

Repeat on other side for the other wing and weave in the ends.

Tada! Now you are ready to go fight the villains in a splendor of American Patriotism! :)

Speaking of costumes, I have purchased part of my Halloween Costume for this year! It is a length of fabric with this print:

Hint: My costume inspiration and Captain America have something major in common. Think the time period. Let me know if you have any guesses! 

Enjoy the patterns and the rest of the weekend! Hopefully I will have a post tomorrow about our dessert tonight!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More Apples!

Yesterday morning was Columbus day and therefore a day off of school! I woke up rather early for a "sleep in day" so I decided to get up and surprise my family with some apple cinnamon pancakes! I was successful in quietly sneaking out the electric griddle, mixer, and metal bowls and almost peeled both apples before anyone woke up!

Our excellent apple peeler! Peels, cores, AND slices them in just a few quick cranks! 

Batter! I haven't made pancakes for a long time and I didn't quite remember the consistency of the batter so I may have added a LITTLE too much flour because the pancakes were rather dense.

Mmm! They smelled sooo good as they were cooking! Hint: the more misshapen they are, the more apples loaded in them! ;)

This steaming pile of pancakes didn't last long in a home with ravenous pancake lovers! 

And here is another little touch of fall! Okay so my gourd arranging skills aren't as honed as my knitting skills, but our home grown pumpkins can hold their own; don't you think?

 I am eagerly anticipating Halloween; one of my favorite October events! I have ordered part of my costume this year and it will be coming in the mail very soon! Perhaps I will post a picture of each piece and you can guess what it is I am going to be! Unfortunately I did not have enough time to make a costume like last year; but this one will be good! 

This Friday is coming another post about some knitting and crocheting plans and a free pattern!