Monday, November 29, 2010

No More Cold Ears!

I finished my very first knitted hat.  I'm so excited!  What's even more exciting is that I wrote the pattern for it.  Aaaaand...As it just so happens, it was my first time trying that too! 

It's so COMFY!
 I will admit, I took a lot of help from this excellent 3-part blog post by cosymakes in order to get the measurements correct, but my hat fits perfectly. I couldn't be happier.  Definitely check out the cosymakes' posts if you want to make your own hats, because she does a great job explaining how to break down the measurements, and it is by far the best tutorial I found on how to do so.

Now I just need some gloves to round out my new winter set!

The scarf in matching yarn

Want the pattern?  It's in my Ravelry projects, found here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My little buttercup

This week I refer you to Made By Rae to make her cute buttercup bag.  Included in her pdf download is the pattern pieces you'll need, and full instructions.  I chose to make the free version, but if you purchase the pattern, it comes in a second size as well.  If you have experience sewing you can probably get away without downloading the diagrams, but they do come in handy if you get stuck.

Here's how mine turned out:

Full materials cost for this project:  A whopping $3.00.  My only complaint is that the free version is a little on the small side. I'm assuming the second pattern included with the purchased version is larger, though I don't know for sure. I can fit my wallet, check book, and cell phone, but that's pretty much it.  It's definitely not the type of purse for ladies that carry their life around.

Also, her instructions for sewing the purse together were very clear, but I was unhappy with how she was attaching the straps.  If you want a more polished way to secure them, before you sew the outer and inner sections together, pin the strap around the exterior of the outer section, leaving about half an inch of fabric sticking up above the top on either side. (See diagram below.) Center the strap right over the side seams to help line it up and pin it in place.  Then put the exterior section (with the strap) inside the liner as instructed and sew around the top edge of the bag. Follow the instructions given for turning and finishing the bag.
Enjoy your cute new purse!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A recipe (sort-of)

It's not really a recipe, but more of a formula.  Remember those candy melts that we used at Easter?  I've got another project for them.  Chocolate Truffles!  Here's what you need:

  • 2 bags of candy melts (I used the light cocoa)
  • Oil based candy flavoring-do not use regular flavored extracts that you'd find in the spice aisle of your grocery store.  These won't blend with the chocolate.  Look for ones that are specifically for making candy. 
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Decorative sprinkles and sugars if desired
First create the filling:
Following the package directions, melt one bag of the candy melts.  Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of whipping cream to the melted chocolate and stir well.  Now add your flavoring to taste. It will depend on your chosen flavor how much you'll need, so start with a few drops and add your way up until you're happy. I used 1 teaspoon of raspberry flavoring and it came out pretty strong.  Next time I'll probably dial that amount back just a touch.  Place the bowl in the fridge to let the chocolate cool for about an hour.  You want it to be firm, but still pliable.

Once the chocolate is cool, take it out of the fridge and get ready to potentially make a mess. My filling yielded about 60 truffles, so if you've got helpers, this would be the step to start employing them. Line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper. Using a spoon, scoop up a small amount of the chocolate and roll into half-inch balls using your hands. Set them on the pan as you continue to work, until all of your chocolate is rolled.

Turning them into truffles:
Melt the 2nd bag of candy melts. I used just over 1/2 a bag to coat my truffles, so if you want to save some chocolate for other projects, you can melt a little at a time depending on your need.  Dip the filling balls into the newly melted chocolate until thoroughly coated.  Scoop them out and replace on the pan to harden at room temperature. A fork is really helpful for this, because you can shake off any excess chocolate.  If you want to decorate your truffles, roll them in your sprinkles or sugar after you dip them, or use a different color of candy melts and drizzle it over the top of the finished truffles.  I chose to skip the decoration, but I set the dipped truffles into mini baking cups to harden for individual treats. 

That's it!  Go eat them!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

As I've mentioned before, I work for a craft store.  I really do enjoy it there, but the sickening fact about my store and all the other craft stores in the world is that their holidays are way out of whack.  I've been surrounded by "Christmas" since the end of July, and "Halloween" was already on clearance a week before the day actually arrived.  I however, have managed to resist all temptation to delve into my favorite holiday projects until November.  November to me, is an acceptable month to begin Christmas preparations, and therefore I have done just that.  Behold the wonders I have created with paper and embossing supplies.  If you're lucky, one might arrive in your very own mailbox!