Saturday, February 28, 2009

daring to bake

this was my first month participating in the daring bakers challenge! and the recipe was something i've always wanted to try - flourless chocolate cake. basically, chocolate, butter, and eggs. i put off making it because for valentine's because troy wanted a dairy queen ice cream cake, and we still have a third of that in our freezer. but i baked it yesterday to meet the deadline, and it was tasty! i used some dark chocolate raspberry hershey's kisses i got on clearance, with a coupon - i made money on that deal! it does taste exactly like the chocolate you use, so i can see how it could be even better with some super fancy chocolate. i will add the photo later on, it's on my other computer and i'm feeling lazy. hoping next month's challenge is something with yeast - i have issues with rising bread and need to force myself to practice.

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

knitting failures

1. lace scarf- i started this before being assigned, and partner says no lace! i'm sorta glad though, because i want to finish it for me. so cute with my jean jacket! and my new felt flower pin!
2. this was supposed to be a hat with a roll brim. sigh. about this point i realized several things. the red yarn isn't the right weight, and i was missing the instructions for the decreases.
3. this may actually turn out, but i don't love it. k3p2 ribbed scarf, wool/acrylic blend.
4. this chenille mix sounded good in my brain, but not so great in person. the blue is too chunky for the red and aqua.

my problem is that i try to adapt yarns i like to projects i like, and they really never work out. so i still don't know what i will send her, and the deadline is, hmm, oh, today. soooo sorry!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

a first!

ok, i know i am supposed to be knitting and building mobiles! i know it.

but i rarely get a weekend to myself anymore. and since my husband was gone ice fishing, i thought i'd take advantage of the quiet evenings and i made my first quilt top! i just sort of threw it together out of pieces of my stash. it started out as something totally different, and then as it came together i changed my mind several times and ended up with this - warning, shield your eyes from its brightness!

this is nothing like i was thinking when i started. nor did i ever think at any point that i would make a quilt with hot air balloons on it! i love them, grew up seeing them in the sky, but still. i was planning to use a white print with red and blue sleeping bears. once the nine patch and rails were pieced, it was looking a bit too KU jayhawk for my taste. so i added the polka dots and the balloons from my stash to bring in some other colors. i still need to choose the back and binding. but i am proud that i finally made a quilt top! is it bad that i don't like it? it was for practice, but still - i don't like the idea of making something that i don't want. i will probably donate it to the linus project. or if there's a reader out there who would like it, please let me know!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

because i am a crafty slacker

so the crafty slackers are having a get er done giveaway with lots of cool loot. and who better to win a slacker prize than myself? you're supposed to post a photo of your unfinished project to flickr. i'm not sure that flickr has enough space to hold all of my unfinished projects! recently i laid out all of my abandoned sewing projects on our full size guest bed. it was completely covered. in some places, stacked vertically.

so in the spirit of the giveaway, i thought i'd confess my sins here and motivate my self to finish at least one of them. (for an extra five entries! hooray for motivation!)

the pile of pj pants that need hemmed and waistbands sewn in. these are at least 5 years old.

the faux fur blankets that were going to be a birthday gift for my husband. 6 years old.

the tunic top that needs hemmed. 5 years old.

the shopping totes that i was making for gifts. 6 months old.

the butterfly mobile. 3 months old.

assorted flannel quilt tops. 3 months old.

ok, that's all i'm going to list right now. i'm too embarrassed to continue.

Monday, February 16, 2009


ok. i am finally mailing off my toy swap items! i am behind, and forgive me jennifer. the cape was finished in time, but i wanted accessories to go with it, and then time got away from me! anyways, i made a princess cape from the longthread's tutorial. i used a gunmetal grey taffeta and a shimmery pinkish-purple lining, with vintage metallic gold ric-rac trim. i also embroidered flowers on an applique for the back. then i made a matching headband (also from the longthread, love that site!) and painted and jazzed up a wood star wand i got at hobby lobby. the lovely model is our daughter, who i will have to make a cape for because she wants to keep this one! plus, her ears are not quite as big as they appear in this photo. almost, though. my husband calls her "wingnut".

my package arrived on saturday, and it was a hit! she sent two crayon books, one with dora and one with thomas - which the older two snatched up immediately! a soft flannel jingle ball for zacharoo, and an adorable market beg and felt flower pin for me! hooray, thanks so much, jennifer! she's also a talented photographer. check out these newborns! i want another baby...

Friday, February 13, 2009

get moving!

time to get myself in gear, i am a little behind for this month. i am nowhere close to starting on my mobile - i am making one for a boy, in blue - but i have no idea what i am making yet! i'm trying to figure out if i can do something space related, with a rocket and planets and stars and all that.

and i have frogged at least 5 knitting projects for adorkable's swap. my partner would like a hat. which i have never made before, but always planned to try. i don't want a seam in it, so i'm trying to knit in the round, but my joining stitch is stretched out and my circulars are all either too big or too small. my dpn's feel clumsy to me (it has been a few years since i started that sock), and i dropped a few stitches several rounds in and got frustrated. then one hat was about the right size for a giant. i just don't seem to have the right size needles and the right weight yarn, and anyways, she'll probably end up getting a scarf. sorry about that! i'm giving the hat one more go, and then i throw in the towel. hmm, maybe i could make a few small knitted baskets? that would be something i would love to get. or i have several colors of chenille that would be great knitted horizontally into a scarf. with fringe...

show off your stash!

i finally have my craft area ready for a few pics, so i thought i'd join the fun on sewmamasew and flickr and show off my stash! i've mentioned before, my stash is embarrasingly large. like my belly, hee hee! some of it was inherited from both my grandmothers and my mom, there's even a few pieces that came from my college roommate kim. and a lot of it was impulse buys, something i had an idea for or just loved. so here goes!

what do you usually sew?

that depends a lot on what swap i'm currently in! i make aprons, quilt blocks, and baby blankets.

when you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (i.e. if you see something beautiful, but you don’t have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?)

i have gotten better about buying quarters instead of a whole yard. i'm always afraid of not having enough fabric for a project, so i get a yard. and i'm a total sucker for a bargain.

do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?

it depends, probably about equal!

are you a pre-washer? if you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you’re ready to use it?

if i know i will be making clothing out of it or if i buy it at a thrift store, i prewash. otherwise, no.

do you iron it?

i'm sort of a sporadic ironer. with the kids underfoot, i don't leave the iron on, so i've been known to cut out things by smoothing out wrinkles first! but if i'm working by myself, i try to iron everything in sight. and i really want a garment steamer! years in retail spoiled me.

how do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)

i sort primarily by color. but since i am lucky to have a large wood shelves, i keep my home decor fabrics on the bottom shelf, and my flannels and corduroys separate from my cottons. and then the top shelf has boxes for ribbon, needlework, and beads.

do you have any special folding techniques?

not really. again, retail made me a little obsessive about stacks, but i tend to mess it all up when i go looking for something! that's ok though, because for me, part of the fun of having fabrics is looking at them and deciding what they want to be. so i don't mind refolding my stacks often.

how do you store your fabric?

most of it is on a wood shelf unit from my job at A & F. it was used to display sweaters, so it's an ideal depth for fabrics. the only problem is that small pieces can get lost behind other larger ones. so i also use baskets under my cutting table to toss scraps in, and i have several boxes for my charms.

what tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?

i don't know! i doubt mine would be considered well-rounded. it seems like i never have just what i want. but i am challenging myself to figure out ways to combine them. i just picked up several scrap quilt books at the library, and am trying to understand color combinations for visual effect. i always assumed you just chose fabrics you liked, but there's definitely an art to balancing lights and darks and patterns.

when do you say enough is enough?

after every purchase!

what are some of your favorite stash-busting projects?

quilt blocks - i know, duh! girl's skirts are an easy way to use up combinations. and i have so many patchwork projects i want to try that would be great for stash busting. a better question is, how do you find time for stash busting?!

do you have a current favorite print in your stash? Let’s see it!

i'm always doing charm swaps, so every time an envelope comes i find a new favorite! but as a rule, i heart polka dots.

what’s your definition of the perfect stash?

in a way, my stash is like a scrapbook of my life. i remember where i got certain pieces, and i have a few i can't bring myself to cut into! my perfect stash would be a nice combination of moda and vintage. and polka dots.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

february to-do list

i have finished part of my gift for the toy swap! i made a princess cape! it started out as a superhero cape made of a gunmetal grey taffeta, with an iridescent pink-violet lining. then i made an applique with hand embroidered flowers on the lining fabric, and stitched it to the back of the cape. finally, i used some vintage metallic rick rack in gold to edge the applique and the top and bottom edges of the cape. i am also making a magic wand, it's in the painting stage and still needs jelwels and ribbons, and if i have time i may try one of juicy bits' felt crowns. voila, a regal princess outfit!

i've been experimenting with some knit patterns, and this new yarn i got. it's called spa by canon, and it's a bamboo blend with a great sheen. but - i've never knit with something so fragile. my dry winter fingers keep snagging the yarn, and it takes some focus not to split the strands while i knit. i must have ripped it out 4 times already! but i think i've finally got the hang of it. and i'm working on a scarf, with a ruffle on the end, and i really like it. it has lots of dropped yarn overs. if it works out it will go to my swap partner.

i did get my partner for the mobile swap. i get to make one for a little boy! but, there goes all the ideas i had started - no butterflies or birds for him, i'm thinking a rocket would be the way to go here. i may make the long thread's rocket ship and hang it sideways, and then have stars or something floating around it.


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