New Crafty Obsessions

December 10, 2008 at 12:31 pm (7 cities crafters, cooking, crochet, family) (, , , , )

My older daughter has stopped napping in the afternoon.  Sadly, that was my major crafting time (or napping time, depending on the day).  I love handing out with her, but I miss my creative time.  Despite the fact that my crafty time is limited, I’ve managed to find two new obsessions.

My friend Amanda has opened Bake It Pretty, her new online shop.  I ordered some cookie cutters, a Vintage Village cupcake kit, and the Best-Ever Cupcake Icing kit.  It arrived last Friday, and I used the decorating kit to ice my agave cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream.  This is my first attempt at icing a cake.  Not bad considering I only had half an hour before our 7 Cities Crafters holiday party.
First frosted cupcakes

The holiday party was lots of fun.  Everyone brought delicious food.  After we were stuffed, we had a holiday gift exchange.  I scored some beauutiful bird ornaments.  I can’t wait to hang them in my office/craft area.  I made some peppermint sugar scrub and a Rose for Mother pouf.  I spent a lot of time making the back of the rose look pretty, and then ended up covering it with more crochet.  Hmmm, I guess I should have read the pattern first.  The pouf is a very quick crochet project.  The hardest part is starting the slip stitches for the petals.
Rose for Mother

After all the gifts were opened, we settled in for a crafting workshop.  We had two classes:  embroidery and needle felting.  I’ve embroidered before, so I went with needle felting.  It is so fun (except for when you stab your fingers).  One of the hot gifts of the night was a sewn hedgehog pincushion.  I wanted to recreate it in needle felting.  Here is my little guy.
Needle felted hedgehog
Needle felted hedgehog
I think he’s pretty cute, and I love how quickly he took shape.  Since I’ve got tons of roving around the house, I can’t wait to make some more critters.

I’ve still owe y’all a Stitches post.  To distract you from that, I’ll leave you with a shot of Tulip in the leaves:
Tulip in the leaves

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Twilight Walks

October 4, 2008 at 9:35 pm (cooking) (, )

The weather has been cool this week. Fall is definitely in the air. This time of year always gets me in the mood for a good walk. I leashed the dog and set out. Just around our corner, we met up with some neighbors. We had a great chat, and I snagged some tasty basil. I think it’s pesto and gnocchi for dinner tomorrow!

After a brief trip home to put the basil in water, Bran (the dog) and I had a nice 40 minute walk. The sun set, and stars came out. It was a fantastic way to spend the evening. Far better than vegging on the couch.

As I’ve been moving the blog over, I saw that I’ve mentioned my grandmother’s Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake. I also mentioned it on the latest episode of Craft Mentality. It’s been nearly a year since she passed away, and it’s only been in this past week that I felt like making my favorite cake again. This cake is certainly not health food, but it is a great comfort food. I thought I’d share the recipe.

Grandmommy’s Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 c (3 sticks) butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 2/3 c sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3 c flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c cocoa

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and cheese.  Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy.  With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.  Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to your batter.  Do not overmix.  Cook the cake for 1 1/2 hours, but start checking the cake to see if it’s done after 1 hr and 20 minutes.

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EZ, MS, FO, and yummy

March 24, 2008 at 8:08 pm (cooking, knitting) (, , , , )

What a relaxing afternoon!  I watched/listened to my Knitting Around DVDs.  With the soothing sounds of other more experienced knitters, I blithely picked up the stitches around Giselle.  Then, I purled.  Now, I’m ready for the picot bind-off.  I hope to finish it this evening at SnB.  This picture shows a truer color.  I love my new Canon SD1100!

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tntknits/2358686831/&#8221; title=”Giselle sleeve flare by TNTknits, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2345/2358686831_dd83c4a7fd.jpg&#8221; width=”375″ height=”500″ alt=”Giselle sleeve flare” /></a>

I made bread this afternoon, too.  I got Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. I made Granola Bread.  I’d show you a picture, but we have about one piece left.  It truly was easy (and delicious).  I think with practice, the bread will be even better.  It needed more rising time.

I’ve also decided to call my Tulip’s Swing Thing finished.  The monkey fist buttons are not working, and i-cord is not moving me.  Tulip loves her sweater.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tntknits/2359545830/&#8221; title=”Swing Thing in action by TNTknits, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3036/2359545830_e3cc74c1da.jpg&#8221; width=”335″ height=”500″ alt=”Swing Thing in action” /></a>

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Valentine’s Day Musings

February 14, 2008 at 8:31 pm (cooking, family, knitting) (, , , , )

I am still kicking around. Surprisingly. My mom was up at the beginning of February. Then, I did some fabulous test knitting for Simona’s Designs. Here’s the finished project:

Bell Sleeve Shrug

Pattern:  Bell Sleeve Shrug
Yarn:  Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton in Willow
Needles:  Sz 8

And you can get your own Bell Sleeve Shrug pattern in her etsy shop. I think my girls need one of everything in her shop. I just need more time to knit them.

Project Spectrum 3.0 has begun. In the spirit of Fire, I’m working on Giselle in Bristol Red Silky Wool from WEBS.

Giselle

The yarn is soft and gorgeous. I’m starting the bust band (just had to type that) today. Not bad for a week of knitting.

Also on the Fire theme, I’ve also become hooked on Blood Orange tea from Adagio Teas. Look at that color!
Blood Orange Tea

Blood Orange Tea from Adagio teas

It reminds me of kool aid but way better. Best of all, the tea is herbal and has no caffeine. Thanks, Amber, for introducing me to this tea.  I think I’ll try a tea-along for Project Spectrum.  I can’t think of a better way to keep the elements in everyday life.

Speaking of Amber, she came over Sunday night for a great Project Runway marathon. For dinner, we had Tofu Apple Spring Rolls (sans spring roll wrappers) and Asparagus from the Vegan Lunchbox with Rice Pudding for dessert. Yum! We still have five episodes to go, but we’re going to celebrate Presidents’ Day with lots of Project Runway craziness.

This morning I got to celebrate with yummy Lower Fat Banana Bread from the Veganomicon and snow. Yes, snow. It’s been in the 50’s and 60’s all week, but this morning there was snow on my deck. Bizarre. As long as I’ve lived in the Hampton Roads area, I’m still baffled by the weather.

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Cupcakes and ATCs

January 10, 2008 at 8:39 pm (art, cooking) (, , )

I have enough time for a quick post. Today was another interesting day. So when the going gets tough, the tough make Simple Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. These are so delicious. They almost have a buttery flavor even though they have no butter or shortening. I’m not a huge non-chocolate cake person. I would usually want frosting, but these babies are perfect just as they are.

I’ve participated in the Creative Mom Podcast Artist Trading Card exchange for almost a year now. Most months, I procrastinate. I may know exactly what I’m going to do, but I don’t sit down and get it done. This month I am ready. The theme is “Beginnings.” This month is also Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees. This Jewish holiday was a way to calculate a tree’s age. After a certain age, you could eat the fruit of that tree.  Many people celebrate by planting trees or eating fruit. I celebrated by drawing my own new tree.
CMP ATC "Beginnings"
Watercolor, watercolor pencils, and ink

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Trying to Catch Up

October 3, 2007 at 5:03 pm (knitting) (, , )

Trying to catch up

I went home last weekend for my cousin’s wedding.  The drive (6-7 hours each way) is long.  But the trip was worth it.  My cousin is the closest thing I have to a brother.  We grew up together.  He scared away all potential dates in high school.  If I hadn’t moved away, I might still be single.  Seeing him with his new wife was so special.  I wish them all happiness.

Unfortunately, I’ve spent this whole week feeling like I’m running behind.  I guess that’s from not really having any time off.  I still managed to get some things accomplished.  Yesterday, I made Kale, Sweet Potatoes, and Squash soup from Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons:  Beautiful Vegan Soups and Stews for Every Time of Year by Nava Atlas.  Delish!  I followed it up today with some Cheezy Quackers.  And this was my lunch:

Here’s a closeup:

I also worked up a swatch for IK’s Tilted Duster in my Dragon Berroco Peruvia.  It took forever.  I forgot to check my Options needle before I started.  One end was a US 9 and the other needle was a US 7.  D’oh!  Despite the challenges, the swatch was completed and washed.  The color is a bit greener than this pic:

Come Saturday night, I’m casting this puppy on.  Thankfully, I listened to the WEBS podcast with Norah Gaughan before starting.  She convinced my to go with the medium size instead of the large.  I worried that it would be too small since the medium is my bust measurement.  But I will trust Norah.  Because I think 4 extra inches just won’t work.

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