Friday, September 30, 2011

What are you going to be for Halloween? {Gail}

You may think we haven't been being creative, but here is what has been going on behind the scenes the last few weeks.  Mom decided to enter a costume sewing contest, and I became the costumee.  We put our heads together and came up with... Punk Little Red Riding Hood.  (More on this project to come soon!)

See Pattern Review for Bodice here.

See Pattern Review for Cape here.

See Pattern Review for Tutu here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

International Crochet Day!

So if you didn’t know already, I’m a fairly new yarn enthusiast.  Meaning I’ve only completed 1.5 crochet projects, but I already own a giant container’s worth of various yarns!  The full completed project is a hat I just made a few days ago which is what this post is about!  J

I was itching to do some creating and only had one evening available.  As my scrapbooking bench was a mess and I did not feel like spending half the evening cleaning it first I opted for a yarn project.  I could have worked on my blanket project (featured in previous posts), but I really wanted to learn to make some hats so I can get going on some props for kids and babies and the upcoming Christmas season.  (I’m planning ahead on some Christmas Mini-Shoots for my business, Snapdragon Studios Photography).  I had also been eyeing some crochet patterns from an etsy shop, Just Be Happy.  The hats are adorable, and from her facebook page she seems like the nicest lady, so I knew if I had any problems I could probably send her an email and she would help me out!  Plus, I know she is local to my area, and I know over the internet that doesn’t really matter, but as a new business in the area I would like to form some connections. 

Feel like I’m rambling already soo…
1. Bought Patterns. 
2. Looked at patterns. 
3. Got confused by crochet pattern lingo.  (I’m still a crochet newbie remember?!)
4. Emailed Mom she would have to help me interpret pattern and teach me how to start a hat. 
5. Was impatient and didn’t want to go watch tv with hubby. 
6. Opened up google and youtube and taught myself.
7.  Completed the hat minus trim and braids that night. 
8.  Finishing touches the next evening. 
9. Emailed Mom completed hat picture before she even looked at original email! 
10. Tadah!

A couple of notes, and then pictures to follow.

I watched a lot of videos but the two links below are the ones I found most helpful.  The other videos done by these two people also seem to be some of the most instructive and easy to follow out there.

Also, something I’m working on getting better at… size!  My stitches are even, but I think I stitched this hat too tight.  I was following the pattern for the 12-36 months, but ended up with a hat that is the size of 3-6 months.  So I either need to work on looser stitches or I might try using one size bigger of a crochet hook.  It still turned out really cute I think, and pretty well for a first attempt… check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Checking my gauge/stitch size so the hat would come out right… measured correctly to what it should have been, but I think I was so focused on doing a stitch I hadn’t done before that the size wasn’t accurate to what it would be once I was comfortable with it. 

Made Magic Circle and completed first ring.

About 6 rows in, and starting to look pretty even stitch-wise.  Using a paper clip as a stitch marker, because actual stich markers were buried in scrapbook bench mess.  J

12 rows done!  I was so excited at this point because it was actually starting to look like a hat!  I kept interrupting hubby from tv and exclaiming… “look at what I can do now!!”

End of night one… stuffed animals make the best models, lol.  Can’t wait until I have a client that fits my first ever made crochet hat!

Finished green single crochet around the edges and tied the braids!  Success!
 After deciphering crochet lingo, the pattern directions were great!  Straightforward, multiple sizes included, and great pictures for reference!  I've since bought a few more patterns and can't wait to try them (probably going to try another as soon as I finish posting this)!  If you are interested and if you are reading this today... It is International Crochet Day, and Just Be Happy is offering a 15 percent discount on already made hats and her patterns with the coupon code "CROCHETISCOOL" today only!

As she always says, Happy Crocheting!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Completed Crochet Cocoon {Gail}

I finished something! Those who know me realize that I start far more projects than I finish, so this is noteworthy. I mentioned the crocheted "cocoon" I was making for Samantha to take newborn photos with, and now it's finished. First a photo of the base of the cocoon, or pod, when it was partway done:

... about 60% of the way done,
 including all the (relatively speaking) hard parts.

The finished pod -- we had no newborn handy, so this is Samantha's best option to show the filled cocoon. Goofy (Pluto?) sure looks happy in there.

The finished cocoon -- a newborn will feel nicely swaddled
while looking all egg-snuggled getting her picture taken.

The merino wool blend is so plush, smooth, and cuddly feeling -- babies are going to love it in there! This is Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere which also includes some nylon. And let's not forget that this yarn is Superwash treated, making it completely machine washable with no risk of felting. Hurray for modern technology! Details of the pattern and yarn are two blog-entries below and/or you can see my project notes at Don't get too hungry scrolling through all those ice cream pictures LOL!

Happy stitching!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Birthday Deliciousness!

Sunday was my baby brother’s 19th birthday!  19?!  In another year my parents will no longer have any teenagers!  Mom, do you feel free yet?  Anyway, Sunday… we got together to celebrate of course!  Last week I found this delicious looking dessert and emailed my Mom about getting together to make it, Robert’s birthday was perfect timing!  I found this recipe through the Rachael Ray emails I get a few times a week.  Usually I take a quick look and drop them in my ‘Food’ outlook folder so I can search for recipes later when I need them.  This one just screamed at me that I needed to make it now!  Mocha Ice Cream Cupcakes… yummmmmm.  Here is the link to the recipe…

Did I mention how much my family is addicted to coffee and chocolate?  This recipe just seemed perfect for us, and especially for an occasion that we would all be together (minus sister who is away at college).  Because my mom and I bake/cook a lot we did use some of our experiences to tweak the recipe as we went and I’ll explain below with the pictures!  Enjoy!

We started taking pictures when we were most of the way through making the cupcakes.  We were dealing with ice cream so we had to work fast! 

This is a pull back of what we were using.  Jumbo muffin pans were a must to fit all the layers.  You started with a sugar cone and butter crust.  Then the recipe called for toasted whole almonds that you toasted and then chopped.  We toasted pre sliced almonds and chopped them slightly.  Then you drizzle chocolate over the chopped almonds in the bottom of the crust.  Next layer coffee ice cream, then chopped chocolate covered espresso beans.  Here is another small change we made.  Instead of buying chocolate covered espresso beans which are expensive.  My Dad coarsely ground some espresso beans from home, and then we melted dark chocolate and made a sort of espresso brittle.  After it set up in the freezer we chopped it up and used it!  Very simple, and way more cost effective!

After the first espresso bean layer you repeat.  Coffee ice cream, chopped almonds, coffee ice cream, espresso brittle.  Then you stick them in the freezer to set up!! 

After they freeze for a while we whipped up some fresh whipped cream, grated some chocolate and garnished!  Tip for getting them out of the pan….  Hot water soaked kitchen towel underneath pan, and then use plastic knife to get around edges a little bit.  They released very easily like that!

My Grandma serving up the frozen treats!


Brother Robert awaiting dessert!

Tried to get a picture of the layers, but the ice cream kind of surrounded all of them.  You can see the almonds and chocolate in the bottom, and the flecks of espresso brittle throughout!  These were definitely a great birthday treat after some delicious bbq dinner!  And as always, a great way to create with the family!