Whatever!

What to muse about today?

May 20, 2015 ~ Finished Objects

Teagan’s Slippers

I finally finished a few things this week.  Some slippers and a shawl.  I made my very first tassels!

Ashlin’s Slippers

A few weeks ago, or months, I had made some slippers for Ashlin with some left-over sock yarn.  I had quite a bit of two or three different yarns after I made the socks.  A bit more than I wanted to use for the patchwork quilt I’m making with the other leftovers.  I decided to make up some slippers to use it up. A super fast, double-stranded pattern.  I quickly seamed up Ashlin’s and then started on Teagan’s, but got sidetracked with a crochet sundress and another project or two.  Teagan was eager for me to finish, she would look longingly at the flat pieces of knitting, asking every few days or so when they’d be done.

I can’t wait for her to see them tomorrow.

The other project I finished was the Christmas Shawl I made using the Baktus pattern, a pattern where you increase the row width until you use half the yarn, then you start decreasing.  Eventually you use all the yarn and have a triangle shaped shawl.  I used this project to try my first color work, alternating a red and green cotton yarn I had been gifted.

Tassels!

Working with two strands of yarn is a bit fiddly, but not too bad once you get the hang of it.

I’m glad to finally have the tassels done.  They weren’t as annoying to make as I thought.  I had avoided making them once I finished the body of the shawl, wearing it with the yarn tails hanging, unfinished.  It was the perfect colors for Christmas :D

Now, I can put it away with the other winter things.

Next up, finding the time to get Teagan to sit still long enough for me to place the straps on her crocheted sundress so I can finish that as well.

LOL.

 

 

 

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May 5, 2015 ~ Spring Clean

Finally Blocking

I must have been nipped by a spring cleaning bug or something.  The past few days I’ve been slowly straightening up long-neglected corners of the house and getting projects finished up.  Finally.  Today I am blocking the two lace doilies that I finished back in November.  They match (sort of!) the star table runner I did for Teagan.

I’ll get some better pictures once they are dry.

These doilies have been sitting right next to the Christmas shawl I still need to put tassels on and the picnic quilt that still needs borders and backing.  I did get the patches finally put on to the size 4 pants to cover the holes that Teagan put in the knees.  She’s almost six.

I’ll get the size 5’s done next.

 

I know.

I’m getting there.  I’ll get there.

Bigger

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December 5, 2014 ~ Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

Today, I finally used one of the more awesome Christmas presents I’ve ever received and made cheese. Yes, cheese.  Fresh Mozzarella, even!  I’m not sure why I hadn’t tried before.  Maybe it was because I had one or both girls whenever I was mostly awake, or the fact that the package came with rubber gloves.  I don’t really know.  And I’m kicking myself about it.

The cheese was fantastic.

Small curd

And not very difficult to do, maybe an hour for the first batch.  And yes, I said first batch, because, oh yes, there will be more.  I’m sure that when I make the Mozzarella again it will only take about half the time. I will need to get a better thermometer – a digital one, that goes below 100°F.

It seemed crazy to start with one full gallon of milk, but that was the recipe. After adding in the citric acid and heating it up, small curds formed. Once the rennet and calcium chloride were added it changed pretty quickly to much larger curds with clear whey.

Curds and Whey

Straining the whey and getting the curds quickly into a separate bowl was a bit tricky, but eventually I got them all separated. I was amazed at how little cheese curd there was.  Almost all the volume of the gallon was whey.

A quick run through the microwave and it was ready to mix and form into balls.

Warm mozzarella. Omnomnom

I tried some when it was still warm and gooey.  Oh.  It was lovely. Yum.  I haven’t had mozzarella like that before.  Stu also got to try some still warm and thought it was very good.

 

I decided to make just three balls from the batch, I didn’t have much time before needing to go get Ashlin.  They got nice and shiny as they cooled and I dropped them into the brine just before I left.

Ashlin didn’t believe me when I told her I made cheese while she was in school.  I let her try some after it was brined and she approved.  She may have been impressed I actually made cheese.  (It’s not marshmallow fluff or cookies!  LOL!)  She was sad she didn’t get to help though.  I told her that she could help next batch.

Balls brining

We may be making home-made pizza tomorrow.

I have two thirds of it in the fridge, in brine, and the last third is wrapped in plastic in the freezer.  It may not last the weekend.

 

PS.  The cheese making kit came from Standing Stone Farms, and their recipe is similar to this one.

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September 8, 2014 ~ Fluff!

It’s so fluffy!

I made fluff! Home-made marshmallow creme! From scratch. It wasn’t too difficult at all.  Surprisingly easy, actually. I’m not sure where I came across the recipe, but it caught my eye and I pinned it.

While Ashlin was upstairs for a bit of quiet time – or morning nap – I set up all the ingredients, pulled out the stand mixer and opened up my shiny, new candy thermometer.

Ashlin helped me put most of the ingredients together, though I did separate the eggs.  She really enjoys helping to cook.  She did get a bit tired watching the corn syrup and sugar boil, getting the mixture to 240°F took a bit too long for her attention span.  I don’t blame her.

Not quite 240F

Eventually, the mixture did get there, and the egg whites peaked softly.  Tempering the whites wasn’t too bad, though the syrup was very sticky and spun strings when it got cold.

I mixed till glossy, added the vanilla and let it whip away.  I did stop to scrape down the sides once, but other than that, an easy enough recipe.  Other than getting the syrup to the require 240°F, spooning the mixture into a jar was probably the most difficult thing.  Not an easy task, it was thick and sticky!

The recipe made about 2 1/2 cups of fluff.  I will probably make this again, and I’m sure it will take about half the time.  It’s always easier the second time.

Ashlin claimed it “deeeeelicious!” while licking the spoon I gave her.  It had a fresher taste, texture, than the store bought fluff.

Then, while eating her much wanted fluffernutter, she said that that it made a “tasty sandwich, mama!”

That’s good enough for me!

 

Tasty!

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June 20, 2014 ~ Flowers

Flowers

Today I made flowers.  Paper flowers.

Months ago, Ashin asked if she could have a mobile like Teagan’s.  A photo mobile that I’ve various paper decorations for – Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s, St. Patty’s days as well as spring, winter, fall.  Oh!  And some generic stars to go with the rest of her decor.

It took a while to find another mobile.  Amazon eventually made one available on Prime, and I added it to an order.  So, it sat out of sight for a while.

Today, I finally decided to swap out Teagan’s eggs with flowers.  And as I had a little time, I made some more.  The giant hydrangea were a bit too big for the mobile and would get caught with each other, so I put one in each girls room.  I split the original ones across the girls, made some new ones in new colors, and added some dragonflies to further spruce them up.

Not wanting to put a new hole in the ceiling, I used a thumbtack to hang Ashlin’s mobile up.  That will leave a tiny hole if, and when, we decide to move it.

Teagan isn’t expecting her mobile to be different…  Ashlin doesn’t know she now has one too.  I hope they’re both excited.

Ashlin’s

Teagan’s

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May 1, 2014 ~ Bunnies Make Everything Better!

Second Easter!

Anyone who follows either my Instagram or Flickr feeds has seen many crochet bunnies in various stages of completion.  Inundated with them.  I ended up making eight of them, two for my girls and the other six for children of co-workers.  All were done and handed out before Easter too.  Of course, I forgot to bring the ones for the girls up to my parents.  So, they got them today.

I found the pattern on Green Dragonfly’s site.  Totally adorable!  And a great use of the scraps from previous projects.  I had also asked a few of the ladies at work who yarn too if they had some bright colors  for me to use.  Maybe some blues and greens, colors boys may not mind, compared to the pinks and purples I seemed to have a lot of.

Proto-bunnies. #crochet #bunny #easter

I started with my girls’ bunnies first.  Dug through the left over bins and found the yarn left over from Teagan’s ripple blanket.  It had pink, so would be perfect for her. For Ashlin I pulled two of her favorites – purples and blue.  I didn’t have a red that matched.

The first one took a bit, I needed to learn the pattern.  I crocheted up all the pieces first.  By the time I got to the last one, I could get a whole bunny, less pompom tail and sewing together, done in an hour if I focused.

I didn’t always focus.  There really wasn’t a rush, there was plenty of time.

Green ones! #bunny #body for a #boy   #crochet

Green!

#bunny #body for a little #boy. #crochet

Blue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can’t Hear You

 

I saved all the sewing up for the very end. And the pompoms. I hate pompoms. They don’t ever seem to look right, too thin, too uneven, not tied tightly enough.  Something.  I’m sure I’ll eventually get them right.  These were made using a fork, so were just a tad off-center.  But they needed to be, to be sewn on the back.

Ears were a bit of a pain, but not too bad.  Short rounds with color changes, a small diameter that your finger doesn’t fit in, doesn’t make for much fun.  But they would go quick enough.  Again, if I focused.

Most times, I would get the pair of ears done while watching some show.  So, a nice distraction.

When I stuffed them, I would wrap the poly-fill in a dryer sheet, so that the fiber wouldn’t escape through the stitches as easily.  And it made them smell really nice.  I did tell the people at work that there was the dryer sheet in there.

The girls got theirs today.  Teagan said “cute!” and hugged hers.  Ashlin snuggled up with hers and didn’t want to give it up for dinner.  Both girls have gone to bed with them.

This makes me happy.

#crochet #bunny #body waiting for stuffing

Waiting for Stuffing

First #bunny of many. Almost done! #crochet

In process

 

Bunnies at work

Finished pair at work

 

#bunny line up!

All in a row

 

Front

 

Back

 

PS.  I started this post on April 16th.  Yikes!

 

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April 15, 2014 ~ Bumpy Blankets

Look!  A yarn cake! #ballwinder

Cake!

So, yeah. Life got busy – Birthdays, travel, work, kids.  So, instead of dealing with all that, (though I do promise a birthday post!), let’s talk about a yarn project.  It’s easier, for now, anyway.

The lovely friend who gave me this awesome yarn, also had a spare ball winder…  and gifted it to me.  This is the first yarn cake I ever made.  So much fun!  Cake!  I didn’t think I’d really enjoy the winder, but oh, I do.  It’s so lovely.  Watching the skeins quickly disappear is really a joy, much more than winding them yourself.  A swift would have been super helpful back then, but that’s food for another post…

The girls needed blankets for Stu’s car.  He takes them to day care at times in his car, and they complained to me a few times about being cold in it.  And with the spare Lumpy Bumpy yarn, I had more than enough yarn to make them each a blanket.  I decided to crochet one and knit the other

 

#knit #car #blanket in progress #lumpybumpy

Knit Lumpy Bumpy

The knit one is very similar to the Big Button Wrap, but with slightly different dimensions.  Still, fun to watch the color and texture variations appear.

First #lumpybumpy #car #blanket is done #crochet

Crochet Lumpy Bumpy

The crochet version looked a bit like cauliflower as it worked up.  I needed to start over, I was using a hook that was a bit too small, and the stitches were coming out a bit too tight.  Redoing it with a slightly larger hook gave it a bit more airy look.  There’s no big pattern for this at all, just a chain that was about 34 inches long, and I crocheted until it was about 24 inches long.  I did finish it off with a quick single crochet border, but nothing fancy.  The yarn really didn’t need it.

I may have used about twice as much yarn in the crochet version than the knit, for about the same dimensions, not that I was keeping track.  I do think the color and texture work a bit better with crochet…

 

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Crochet

Ashlin told me she likes the crochet one better than the knit… Teagan doesn’t seem to mind either…

I think I have another two hanks of this hiding downstairs…

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March 31, 2014 ~ Blocks

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Baby with Baby Blocks

This is Ashlin’s blanket!  I used a pattern from the Lion Brand site – Baby Blocks.  I picked yarn colors that would go with the bedding we had.  I stayed away from the browns and yellows, focusing instead on the bright colors from the flowers and leaves.

I had started working a different blanket – a sampler afghan. I wasn’t happy with the way the few squares turned out – I just couldn’t get the gauge right – so pulled them apart and started the Baby Blocks.   Eventually, I’ll do the sampler, it is very pretty.

I know I always say this, but I liked working this blanket up.  The small squares were very easy to bring around with me – to and from work, the salon, the car, wherever.

I started the blanket in May but didn’t get it done until November.  It hibernated for a lot of the summer.  There was no rush.  Ashlin wouldn’t be needing it soon, she wasn’t close to being moved out of her crib, although she was climbing out. It got put aside for other projects with sooner due dates.

There were some troubles, not enough of a discontinued yarn color – orange.  Some squares were done with the wrong color order – each color was used on each round five times.  To make the size we needed, I did 20 squares instead of 12, this worked better for the colors, though did make it difficult to decide on the final positioning.  Too many dark colors on a row made it look lopsided, so each needed to be balanced out.

IMG_0787

Stack of Squares

IMG_1575

Final Position

As always, this was a learning experience.  Other than learning I have less-than-stellar color choices, (at times), I learned to do an invisible seam.

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Almost mattress-stitch

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Invisible Join

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used instructions from this site to join all the squares.  It’s very similar to a mattress stitch used when joining knit pieces.  You sew up through the bar between the top loop of the stitch.  Then you pull the yarn tight.  You don’t even need to use a coordinating yarn color.  When you pull the yarn tight, you can hardly see the yarn used.  You just need to be sure not to pull too tight, or the squares pucker at the join.  There’s a tiny bit of a bump, but that could be due to the tightness of the yarn used to seam.

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Snuggling in

I’m sure Ashlin won’t ever notice.

Another change from the official pattern was to add a border.  I just think it pulls everything together and gives the blanket a finished look.  I used my copy of Around the Corner for the border.

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Corner

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Edge

 

I went around the joined squares twice with single crochet before using the border patterns from page 120 (blue round) and 59 (green crab stitch).  I do wish I had kept up the corner style of the squares when doing the border.  But that’s a small thing.  I am really happy with it.

And Ashlin is as well.  And that’s what really matters.

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March 18, 2014 ~ Runner

Star Runner

I finished the lace runner for Teagan’s dresser the other day.  It was much easier than I thought.  It was not as difficult or fiddly as I thought it would be!

Scared of the idea of a doily, lace, I had gotten some sock yarn – fingering – to use instead.  I hadn’t thought about the sock yarn would be a bit more stretchy than the cotton thread.  I just thought it would be a bit less daunting than the thread, and not as tiny to work with.   At least for a first attempt.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought!  Granted, the first two attempts to do the motif weren’t successful, it felt as if the pattern was written for someone that knew what they were doing.  Not me.  Those first attempts were wonky, with the wrong number of stitches, bad joins, too stretchy.  Eventually, I got it figured out though.

Even with the wrong yarn, I decided to go ahead and work it up anyway.  A decision that Teagan was very happy with when she found out the pink star thingy was going to be for her.

It didn’t take too long to work up, I could get two maybe three motifs done and connected a night.  A week and a bit to get it all done, with the border.  There’s just blocking to do.  I’m not sure how well it will block, stretchy sock yarn and all.  But it will be just fine.

Teagan will be happy with it, as is.  I’ll probably do this pattern again, with cotton thread, I enjoyed working it that much, and am than pleased with how it turned out.

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March 9, 2014 ~ I Forgot

Attempt #3

Let’s not talk about the things I forgot – both daughter’s shoes (!?!?!?) yesterday, my wallet on a trip to the grocery store today, what day it was, so missed calling my dad on his birthday…  Let’s talk about crochet instead.

I started working on this runner to put on Teagan’s dresser.  I’m stuck on two other projects – one knit and one crochet, (I think I’m going to frog them, do over) – so decided to learn how to crochet lace.  Since I’m using a sock yarn, so light fingering instead of crochet thread.  I may be crazy, but I’m not completely insane.

Oops

The first motif was challenging.  The yarn is a bit more stretchy than a cotton would be, and the instructions for the pattern aren’t always clear.  Eventually I got the first motif done.  The pattern calls to join motives as you go, my first attempt there wasn’t very good either…

I hadn’t realized that when I joined them, they were just a tiny bit off.  It wasn’t too hard to figure out where I went wrong, finding the time to actually fix it was more difficult.

Once I got that, the next four came easily!  Only 17 more to go!

Five

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS. Yes, I really did forget the girls’s shoes.  Stu and I packed them into the car for a trip home, neither wanted to put their shoes on for the ride, so we carried them.  I turned the alarm on and locked the house.  We only realized we forgot the shoes when we got to my parents and went to get the girls out of the car.  They’re almost 5 and 3, it’s not like they’re itty bitty and don’t need shoes.  Sheesh.

Can I blame it on the time change?

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