Sunday, August 31, 2008


Yesterday I made up these pumpkins. I'm not quite ready to go all-out autumn yet, but I'm getting there. I just finally got a metal wreath-hanger to replace the plastic one that broke, so our spring/summer wreath is finally back up on the front door. I think it needs some display time before being replaced.

Pumpkins 1

The top left variegated one is done in Vanna's Choice "Tangerine Mist" with this pattern, with some modifications. I made it shorter by 3 rows, and pulled the 8 strands of yarn tight around it. The interesting thing about the yarn is that any given piece has both colors on it, as it's dyed lengthwise, rather than in strips. I like it.

The leaf was done from a book I have called Crochet Bouquet, but there are similar leaves here. The curly bit is just a chain with sc across, and occasional decreases. The other difference in the pattern is that I do my dc decreases differently, as I do a second yarn over before the second half, like this:

*yo, insert hook in next stitch, yo and pull back through, yo and pull through 2 lps* repeat between * once, yo and pull through through all 3 lps.

Maybe the pattern missed it, or maybe I just do them differently, but that works in my head. Like building the bottom of the two dc separately, and then connecting the tops. But anyway...

Pumpkins 2

The littlest pumpkin was done in Lion Brand Jiffy, and using this picture for inspiration. The far right one was done in Homespun (loves the homespun), and done semi-freehand in Amigurumi style, but with double crochets. I may add a brown curly vine and either a brown or green leaf.

Speaking of orange, here is a picture of Spook from March. The sunlight caught her eyes just right. I have not altered the colors at all.

Spook Stepping Out

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Other Tension-Setter

Our older cat, Marmalade, doesn't like any toy that is too noisy (bells) or too in-her-face (feathers), so pretty much her favorite toy in the world is yarn. Other than a catnip pillow, of course ;)

And she always wants to play with my active yarn. I've made her little knotted yarn toys, but she loses much interest once it's detached and dead. So last night I took some completely separate yarn and looped it in my left pinky, so it moved with my work.

She totally fell for it =)

Marms helping me crochet

Then she sat on that yarn and purred contentedly while I crocheted.

I have conquered the yarn

I like having the cats around while I work on stuff, so finding ways to distract them from my active yarn is quite important.

Last night I started cataloging our DVD collection on my iPhone, to avoid us getting any more duplicates, because I can never remember what we have. I got through "C"

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fuzzy Hearts and Mini Gardens

While A was out of town I decided to make a heart to give him. I think this turned out fairly well, and it was quick, too. The circles you start with made me think of pasties =) The pattern is here. I extended the point a little bit, because I like my hearts that way.

Crochet Heart

The stone bench and bird bath are for another project down the line. I picked them up on our honeymoon, because I had been inspired by Little Landscapes, and want to try making one at some point. I want to put something in the bird bath to make it look like there is blueish water in it. Some kind of resin? And just now while searching for that site, I came across this fairy garden site, which looks like it has some cute stuff.

I'm not quite ready for bed yet, had too much tea today. I'm tempted to start a New and Exciting project, but I'm going to restrain myself and work on the sweater, because I want to finish something.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

S&B, Stripy Sweater, and Coffee Cozies

Tonight was the second meeting of the S&B. It was just myself and my friend C, and we had a great time. I hadn't seen her in awhile, so it was good to catch up. I worked on the back of my stripy sweater, which is something I can easily do while chatting. That's part of why I like having several projects going at once. Sometimes I like sitting down and focusing on a pattern, and sometimes I want something my hands can do on their own.

I've finished the front. I like how the V part came out, and I'm going to border it with black. I think I will try doing something of a shallow U for the back, again instead of a square. Here it is, lovely strings and all.

Sweater Front

In other news, happy 2-month anniversary to us :) I realized what the date was only after my husband had fallen asleep (jet lag from his business trip, plus 12 hour flight). According to my sources, we're allowed to be "newlyweds" for at least a year...

Here's part of a project I worked on around valentines day. I was planning on selling these, but that never happened. Sometime I'll post pictures of the 13-14 different ones that I made. They're cup cozies, originally for disposable cups instead of using the paper sleeves. They hold in the heat better, and I think they're more comfy to hold. I've been using this glass cup for my morning tea, and it works well. I can also tuck the teabag tag into it, so that it doesn't fall in. (Yes that's the same oatmeal as the sweater above. I did see a pattern somewhere online for these, but I'm not sure where. I made these with trial and error anyhow.

Cozy - Flash

Here it is without flash, and you can see the heart better.

Cozy - No Flash

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Quick Update

I must learn to knit better, if only for this reason: Wisteria. My jaw is on the floor right now, that is so gorgeous. And these colors are very inspiring.

The oatmeal/tan/black sweater is coming along nicely. I finished the front last night. I decided to do a V neck instead of square, since I think it's more flattering. I think I'll put short sleeves on it after all, if I don't run out of yarn. Now I'm starting on the back, and I don't have to make up the "random" strip anymore, since I'm just copying the front. Whoohoo!

The peppers are still growing well, and several more have popped up. It's almost time to transfer them to their own pots.

I realized that I'm going to be paranoid about things I'm making for Christmas or other presents, just in case someone receiving one reads this ahead of time. So if all goes well, I should have a bunch of posts to catch up on in January. I'm optimistic about that :) Maybe I'll get the Wisteria pattern for January as well, since I'll want to make that for me.

I've signed up for a ceramics class again, wheel throwing. I was looking at my fruit bowl at the office, which had a date of 2001 on it, and decided it's been too long since I've played with clay. I may even be inspired to set up my own wheel again.

*gasp* no pictures in this post! I'll make up for it next time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gardening Hopeful and Works in Progress

I got these cute and tasty little sweet bell peppers at Tr. Joes a couple weeks ago, and used them in sausage pizza with whole-wheat crust (which was tasty, btw.) The peppers were only a couple inches long, and I liked the idea of tiny peppers, so I decided to try and grow them from the seeds. My fancy expensive greenhouse is a berry container.

And they finally started sprouting! They're just tiny right now, but I'm optimistic. Look carefully, and you'll see two tiny sprouts.

Pepper Sprouting

Here's a sweater I'm crocheting from this pattern. I really like the stitch, which was difficult to see in the pattern's picture, and I like the sleeves on the sweater. I just used some acrylic cheap stuff I have lying around (I have TONS of that yarn), so I'm not too keen on the feel of it. I'm undecided on the stripe pattern, though I love the lighter oatmeal yarn. I think I'll lower the neckline, and just make it a sweater-tank. I got some lovely tan/chocolate bouclé which I think I will try and make into the full sweater for this fall. I do like the stitch though, and it makes up pretty quick.

Sweater In Progress

I'm trying to phase out our plastic shopping bags, as I really don't like them. Paper is more bulky / risky for tearing to carry on the motorcycles, so we usually get plastic. I'll probably end up making some in cloth, but I thought this pattern might work well for groceries or carrying lunch. I didn't have much cotton yarn lying around, so again I tried making it out of the Red Heart "super saver". The bottom is really thick and stiff, so I modified the pattern quite a bit. I not only made it bigger, but I started doing the sides in double-crochet, not single. Then I thought it might be nice to only have the bottom part solid, and the top part mesh. I'm also going to make the handles wider and more shaped. Notice the appropriate green, also my favorite color ;)

Paperless Bag

Ugh, flash. The lighting isn't great in my bedroom, which is my favorite place to lounge and work on stuff.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've seen this cookie recipe a couple different places now, and my husband had stumbled it to me. I knew I just had to try them. They were featured recently in the New York Times. Last Saturday afternoon I mixed up the dough. I tried to follow the recipe pretty closely, which is a rare thing sometimes. I used 70% cacao chocolate chunks from Whole Foods, and King Arthur's whole wheat pastry flour for the cake flour. The dough was quite delicious and promising, but aside from nibbling on it a bit, I now had this big bowl of almost cookies that I couldn't enjoy for another 24 hours. (Recipe is here.)

So I made up a smaller batch with the recipe from Fannie Farmer, with a few modifications: I drizzled some chocolate sauce directly into the batter before adding the chips, so the dough was dark as well. Then I didn't have any vanilla at the time, so I improvised: I added a pinch of cloves, nutmeg, and ground black pepper. In retrospect I would've been a bit more generous with those, as they didn't add quite enough of the kick I was looking for.

On to Sunday night, when I can finally bake these so-called fabulous cookies :) The one thing I changed the most was that I made them pretty small. Next time I'll try the gigantic ones the recipe calls for. I like having small cookies, because it's more to share, and less of a commitment.

Cookie Dough, yum...

I got to use my new silicone baking sheets, which performed quite nicely, I must say.

Raw Cookies

At first I spaced them out a lot more, because I thought they would spread more, but they didn't. I'm not completely sure why, but I think the flour measurement might have been a little off. I'll try to be more precise next time.

Low Light Cookies

Mmm, low-light photography. We have a projector pointing at the wall for a TV, and my husband was playing a video game, so I only had the oven light on for awhile. It was kind of nice for cooking, not-so-much for photos. Btw, I love my new tiered cooling rack. I blame that for some of the inspiration to bake lately <grin>

Two Plates Full

At the end I had about 86 cookies (a couple might have been forgotten in the quality check process...) I thought they were best either straight out of the oven, or 2 days later when they softened a bit. In the meantime they were a little bit hard, and definitely not as chewy as the picture from NY Times seems to indicate. But still, they were quite tasty. My husband is not a big fan of dark chocolate, and he thought they'd be perfect if they were made with a lighter chocolate, and had a little less salt sprinkled on top. I thought that was a pretty high compliment.

Close Up Yummies

We each took half the batch to our respective offices, and they were fairly well received all around. My office is pretty small, but he said his was gone within a couple hours or so. Definitely have to try those again sometime.