Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holiday Runner

My blog app ate my last post a few days ago, so I'll try this again...

And here's my Sunday morning, crocheting with Marmalade. Life is good =)

It's already time to take down the fall decorations and put up Christmas! Of course I needed a new mantle scarf/shelf runner. This was a quickie, in fact it's just pieced together, but it looks good for a decoration.

I'm still learning how to piece quilts together while thinking ahead to the next step, but I'm having a blast doing it :)

The last pic shows the true colors, as that shelf is in a corner with poor lighting.

You may recognize the green fabric from my Zim pillow awhile back.

-- iPhone post

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mouse in the House

Oh Blog, I have a very cute and fluffy excuse why I've been ignoring you. At least for the last couple of weeks, I do =)

Meet the newest furry member of our little family: Mouse

Mouse is a grey-flecked shorthair 4-month-old kitten from the rescue project I've been volunteering with, AFRP. I'm really excited about this organization and what they do, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

Lil' monkey in her basket =) You can see how little she is, and her tiny shaved belly from being spayed.

She's adapting very well. I was hoping she'd be a good playmate for Casper, and so far the introductions are going well. Marmalade quietly tolerates her, as she does the other two. Spook doesn't seem too, well, terrified, and they've even sniffed noses a couple times. Casper initially treated her like a toy, and chased her a bunch, (he's over 11lbs now!) but seems to finally be more accepting of her. I even caught him grooming her a couple times :)

That's right, we're a 4-cat household now! The older greys are inside/outside, and so is Marmalade when we're home. She doesn't like the fancy RFID door, so she won't use it even though she wears one of the key tags.

That door is a complete lifesaver. No more waking up at 2, 3, and 4am to chase out raccoons or the odd skunk. Also, it made bringing in a new cat that much easier. Mouse doesn't get a key yet, so she doesn't get to go outside until she's older.

Here's Mouse on the first day I saw her, trying to get a clear shot to take home and show my husband. Fortunately, he didn't need any convincing to come down and meet her ;)

I can't take credit for this caption, as I saw it on I can has cheezburger, but I thought it was just too adorable =)

In crafty news, I have tons of projects going at the moment, and am gearing up for the holidays. I'll try to post sooner next time!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


More adventures with quilting =)

I'm definitely in the mood for autumn.

The pumpkin was fun. I just drew it out and figured out which pieces I would need. Might tweak it a little bit for the next one, but so far I'm happy with it.

I posted the pictures for this mantle (shelf) scarf, and here it is pieced together. I'm pleased with how it turned out, especially since I just planned it as I went along. I'm almost over the Ohio Star design now =)

Of course, I can't sew without my trusty assistants / fabric warmers.

Casper's doing his best to keep the page open for me ;)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

I'm so happy it's finally cold enough to feel like autumn, and that means baking time!

Black & white photos are brought to you by it's-too-dark-to-get-a-good-color-balance-on-my-phone. Just imagine a rich pumpkin color and you'd be spot on.

I made 2 1/2 dozen muffins and a heart-shaped mini loaf.

Recipe is from BigOven, Lynn's Pumpkin Bread. As some of the reviewers suggested, I added a bit of allspice, and also ginger. I cut the oil down to 1/2 cup and substituted about 1/4 cup each brown sugar and molasses for 2/3 of the sugar, and added a pinch more baking powder to make sure they wouldn't be dense. That's how I cook, but I made sure to remember this time, just in case it turned out well =)

Verdict: YUM

My Captain Obvious moment: when sprinkling the cinnamon-sugar on top, use a little tiny strainer or a small jar so you don't get any on the tins between muffins. Burnt sugar stinks in the oven! And if it gets into the sides, it makes that poor muffin look horribly burnt.

As my husband said: "Organic muffin liners!"

The stuff in the middle is still just as tasty :)

-- iPhone post

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall Projects

I love this time of year... holidays right around the corner, fall scents, spiced everything, and a crisp touch to the air.

Well, right now we're having a bit of a heat wave, but I'll be happier once it cools off.

In the meantime I'm getting my house decorations ready, including these panels for my shelf quilt.
I have a couple quilts in progress and I'm planning more. So far I'm doing smaller projects because I'm still learning just how precise and patient you need to be.

I have a newfound respect for all quilters, including my mother-in-law :)

*sigh* Like I needed a new craft obsession... =)

-- iPhone post

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quilting and Garlic Chicken Pizza

For my sewing group today, my friend R and I started learning about quilts. I've never done any kind of quilting other than the Tetris wall hanging for my dad, and a little doll blanket as a kid. So I was very excited about it.

We decided to start simple, with squares rather than anything diagonal or fancy.

R had a couple of fascinating fabrics, which contrasted well together. I love how the duck sits in the middle. This is going to be one snazzy cat bed.

I went to the fabric store, which happened to have a sale on fat quarters. I picked up a few to make a fall scarf for our "mantel" (a long narrow shelf which serves the same purpose,) and a few fun blue/grey/green ones just for fun.

Neither of us planned out the finished projects, we just dove in and started learning the basic techniques.

This is a first draft of what I think may turn out to be a lap quilt. I'm planning on putting black narrow strips between them.

For dinner I made pizza from scratch, all with ingredients already in the house (sometimes hard to do when I don't plan ahead.) The crust is from my Fannie Farmer cookbook, with a simple white sauce dressed up with garlic and a few spices, and grilled chicken marinated in worcestershire sauce and spices. Tasty, easy, and quick (aside from the dough rising).

-- iPhone post

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pinned by Cats

"ok, guys, I WAS about to get up and be useful..."

And, cuteness from Marms, just because :)

Kool-Aid Dye and Voice Recognition

Trying out a new program I have, an iPhone app called Dragon Dictation and the first two attempts didn't go so well, so we'll make it short and sweet... I give you: Kool-Aid dyeing!

It was a lot more fun and a lot faster than I expected so I'll be scouring my local Safeway for more colors =)

Flavors I used are cherry grape lemon and fruit punch and they still have a light sent, a little bit of a nostalgic feel, like candy.

we'll see how well the color holds up.

the red doesn't show very well in the pictures but it's a very pretty darker and lighter variegated skein.

Clearly this app doesn't like punctuation I don't think it will work very well with various knitting and crochet terms but so far so good!

Maybe this will even encourage me to post more often, ha ha...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reverse Engineer Crochet

It's black thread and low lighting but Spook is modeling the start of a doily which I'm making from a motif on a sweater I found at the thrift store.

So far so good, and I think it'll make a nice coaster with the cotton thread.

Spook snuggled on the "pattern," maybe in hopes that I would pet her instead.

The final product. It took just over an hour (including petting breaks.)

-- Posted From My iPhone

Saturday, September 4, 2010

S&B This Week

Here's a little snapshot of our weekly crafty gathering. I still call it a stitch&bitch even though not all of us are stitching :)

C is making the lovely earrings and bracelet, R is knitting natural alpaca baby booties and cap, and I'm making something with blue yarn. I can't show it off yet ;)

We're having a blast and I just wanted to show off our work. I have such talented friends =)

-- Posted From My iPhone

Saturday, August 14, 2010

English Muffins, Take 2

I made the sourdough English muffins again this morning. I doubled the recipe and it made 25. They look prettier than last time, I think, and also got the thumbs up from my husband.

They froze well last time, so I'll repeat that as well. This is definitely going to become a staple around here.

So far its been a great weekend. Even though we've lived here for a year and a half, I'm just now heading out to explore the local farmer's market for the very first time.

And tomorrow I'm putting together a small workshop for beginning sewers on making market bags from old (or new) sheets. Very much looking forward to it =)

-- Posted From My iPhone

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Birthday Presents of Fluff and Sugar

For my friend R's birthday last week, I made her a fluffy scarf from a Patons yarn called "Divine" in Denim Storm. I think it turned out well... I used a shell stitch, and a large hook. I finished it up at our weekly S&B at the coffee shop. Now I'm in a scarf-making mood, and ready for some cold weather!

My friend C's birthday party was last night, and I decided to make her something sweet: mint brownies!

Mmmm, swirly frosting...
Several people asked for the recipe, so without further ado, here it is:

Famous Mint Brownies

They were very easy to make. I kept them in the freezer a little too long, because I didn't pay attention to the time. So I had to thaw them before I could slice through. I started using my ceramic knife, but was concerned that I might break it. So I switched to a metal knife, soaked in warm water in between each slice. That was the way to go.

Definitely not low calorie.. make sure you have enough butter on hand! I doubled it and made two glass pans =D

I also made another batch of the mini apple pies that I did for 4th of July. I was really hoping to post the recipe here, but it's not ready yet... I made so many modifications to it yesterday that I don't know how I'd write it out. But, after another test batch or two I hope to have an actual recipe to give.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tiny Pies on Fourth of July

On the 4th of July (I know, really behind on posting this!) we went to a friend's BBQ and I wanted to bring something festive.

Something apple pie... I thought about an apple cookie with frosting, but then my husband came up with this idea. He said: "Why not make them like those little quiches?"

So I did!
I used a standard apple pie recipe with a couple tweaks, including adding applesauce, and put the whole thing in a sauce pan to simmer for an hour or so. The little tiny crusts don't take as long to bake, and I wanted to make sure we got the true apple pie consistency.
I cut out little tiny stars and put them on top. Aren't they adorable?

I started out using the mini tins, just the size of those little quiches. But as I was running out of time, I started using standard tins, so they'd be wider and flatter. Those are in the foreground below, and I think they turned out better in the end.
Definitely want to try this again. Maybe pumpkin next time...

At the BBQ I had brought some yarn to crochet by the fireside. As I was standing around talking, I realized it was getting chilly, being by the coast, and that my beer was uncomfortable to hold. Somebody joked that I should crochet myself a beer cozy.

Not to back down on a challenge, I made this in just a few minutes, standing and chatting with folks.
Much better =)

And for the kitty cuteness, here's a rare photo of all three cats together. Casper is on my lap (taking up the entire thing,) Spook is chilling out on the arm of the couch (pretending the other two aren't there,) and Marmalade is lounging on her corner perch where she likes to survey the whole room.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Apply Sharpen Filter

On the left is a coffee cozy that I've used for a year or so. I wanted to make sure I still remembered the pattern so I made another this evening.

Between the slightly fuzzy wear on the yarn, the worsted vs. homespun trim, and a different dye lot for the oatmeal, it looks like somebody applied a sharpen filter.

I like it, and I'm glad that I still remember how to make the little hearts <3

For the kitty cuteness, Spook posed for this lovely glamour shot...

Hah, low light and a poor camera, but I still like it :)

-- Posted From My iPhone

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Beatrice Start

I started making the Beatrice shrug from Berroco with a dark teal who's previous project got scrapped. I thought I'd document the WIP. I'm very excited about the dolman sleeves, and I could see this being a very useful design.

If it turns out well, I'll try another with the nicer yarn and do the stripes. So far I'm very pleased with it, I just wish the iPhone would capture the color correctly...

I have to say, this pattern reads a lot more complicated than I would've thought. But now that I have the sequence down, it's not so bad.

And here's some cuteness. It was pointed out that I post more pictures of Casper than the other two, so here's Marms using her cat mat from the east coast. This is rare because she usually prefers a piece of paper to any fancy cat bed I've given her =)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Photo Sets

My photo-a-day attempt didn't work for a couple of reasons. Mainly, I'd get so busy that at the end of the day I'd realize I hadn't taken my photo yet, and then the available lighting options were less than ideal.

So I decided to mix it up a little, and do groups of themed pictures which span a few days or a week.

The first one is "Sky"





These are from last week, with the exception of the sunrise over my house, which was taken in January.