Thursday, December 29, 2011

I did not fall in a hole and die.


How was your Christmas?  Or even farther back, your Thanksgiving?  Mine was super great.  And guess what?!  I'm finally married! 

Yes, we are blowing bubbles INSIDE the church. : )
I haven't done a lot of crafting as of late, but I have twiddled around with my knitting and crochet projects.  I do have a special project I'm working on, but I'll save that for 2 months from now when I actually remember to make another post.  Until then...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Evil Halloween Cupcake!

Ever have one of those ideas to make something that you think will be totally awesome and then you can't seem to execute it in a way that matches the vision?  That's what's happening with my Halloween costume this year.

A cupcake.  It doesn't seem that hard to make.  Slap together a base, find something to represent frosting, bingo and done!  But $40 and 3 pairs of stuffed pink tights (which took about 4 hours to do) later I'm having my doubts as to how cupcake-esque this fabric monstrosity actually looks.  Maybe in some abstract way it sorta, kinda, maybe looks like a cupcake if you squish it and tilt just a little to the left?  Hopefully?

And then there's the fact that 75% of the way through construction, one who is annoyed enough stops to Google "Cupcake costume" and finds that she could purchase one for the same price from Target ready-made.

Epic DIY Fail.  *sigh*

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

KC's Eight Simple Tips for DIY Weddings

One more month and life will be back to normal. No more party planning.  No more (hopefully) sleepless nights from stress.  Paychecks that will actually stick around for a while instead of being pre-spent on some wedding-ey necessity. And the best part...I will be a Mrs. instead of a Ms. 

That being said, here are some things I learned about DIY wedding planning that may help keep you sane when it's your turn to plan your own special day (or for that day you get roped into helping somebody else plan theirs).

1. Be prepared for sticker shock. Weddings are expensive. (I know-Obvious statement of the century!)  You start planning out things like favors and napkins thinking, "Oh, these would be great and their only xxx cents/dollars.  Fantastic!"  And then you realize that you have to multiply that by the number of guests (100 in my case) and your great idea might not seem so great any more when you see the final price tag.  Don't get discouraged though, because it still may BE a great deal in comparison with other options or you may be able to pair down one aspect of it and it'll end up costing less. Shop around before deciding on anything.

2. Make a monthly schedule for spending. If I had to pick only one thing I did brilliantly during this process, making a plan for our spending was just that.  Put together a list of all the things you think you need, even if you don't know exactly what they'll look like, as soon as you possibly can after getting engaged. Know you want centerpieces but haven't decided if they'll be roses, orchids, or daisies?  Put it on the list.  Need a building to get married in--church or otherwise?  Put it on the list.  Then, sort out major purchases, like the expenses for the venue, and space them out on the calendar between now and the date you're getting married.  Place the expenses for all the little stuff in between the larger items.  That way, the payments will be spread out and you won't be emptying your bank account in one full swoop the week before your wedding.  As an aside, it also helps should the disasterous happen.  6 months into our planning, Nick lost his job.  At that point, I had enough wedding supplies hoarded away and FULLY paid for, that we could have still held our wedding had he not found another job right away.  And because I had spaced out the payments for those items, we still had enough in the bank to meet living expenses for those couple of months he was out of work.  Bonus:  It's a good habit to get into after you're married and paying bills together!

3. Make a space. Be it a rubbermaid container, a closet, a cardboard box--make one area for all your wedding related items and only your wedding related items.  They won't get lost and you can better protect them from everyday dirt, hairy beasties (i.e. naughty dachshunds on the loose) and/or little hands.  Keep all your reciepts together, and put paperwork for any vendors in a dedicated folder or notebook.  It makes things a lot easier when a vendor calls you out of the blue and you have to look up information, you have to make a dispute over a payment, or if you need to return something because your plans have changed or you just bought too much. 

4. Don't get too caught up in the details. Still can't decide if you want roses or orchids for those centerpieces?  Skip it and come back to it.  Don't get so worked up you become overwhelmed. One, because in all honesty, unless your plan is something way over the top, nobody is going to remember which flower you picked a month after you're married anyhow and two, you never know when something else will spark an idea for you. For example, I chose a dark turquoise color for my bridesmaid's dress.  The color was nearly impossible to match.  I was having a hard time choosing flowers for Kellie because I was afraid of them blending in (and not being seen when held against the dress) or clashing with that same color.  I decided to skip it and start working on my own bouquet.  For myself, I choose a white orchid with pink edging around the throat. That same shade of pink is what ended up being the color we went with for the bridesmaid's bouquet. It is something I NEVER would have thought to choose on it's own, but it turns out it looks fabulous when paired with that turquoise.

5. Be realistic in your expectations of the groom.  He may want to help out everywhere, or if he's like Nick, even something as simple as getting an opinion is like pulling teeth. (Hello, cake flavors??) If he's not willing to help, don't force him.  It just makes more headaches for you when you have to go back and re-do the task you assigned him.  Is he unhappy with your plans after-the-fact?  Tough.  If he didn't want to chime in when you asked him the first 6 times, he doesn't get veto power once YOU've made an executive decision, so as to get something done. (Unless you're being completely unreasonable of course...but that's another matter all together.) It's his day too, so give him the opportunity to help, but respect it if he just wants to bow out and let you take over.

6. Enlist help wherever you can get itEven if it's just for ideas. One of my great resources in planning was my MOHS group on Ravelry.  The ladies in that knitting group were wonderful to bounce ideas off of, and one is even sending me a bunch of lights to help decorate our reception!  (Yay for re-using and spending less money!)  Our plan for favors?  Given to me by one of the MOHS ladies.  You never know who will give you a great plan, or be willing to volunteer time or materials to help you out.  Just ask! (P.S.  A special thank you to all my Rav girls!  You rock!)

7. Know when to hire a pro and when to DIY.  Even if it's something you can do yourself.  Do you really want to?  I had originally planned to make these cute paper flowers to use in our centerpieces.  I could have done it, and at a reasonable price, but after folding only 2 in an hour and seeing how many more I still needed, I lost interest really quickly.  For just a little bit more money, I was able to get help from the floral designer at work.  My flowers look even better and I now have all that time I can be using for something else.  The flip side is knowing where you can save a few bucks by investing your own time.  For me, that was the wedding cake.  I've taken the Wilton cake decorating courses at work and I'm confident in my abilities to make the cake I've always wanted for my wedding.  The same thing from a professional bakery would probably run close to a thousand bucks (or more).  I refuse to drop that kind of cash, so I'm doing it myself. It all boils down to what you're more comfortable with and where your priorities lie.  If hiring a pro will give you peace of mind, it's money well spent in such a stressful period of your life.

8. Finally, Don't forget planning is supposed to be fun. Stop and take a breath every once in a while and remember what you're planning for.  That's right...the happiest day of your life.  It's a celebration for you and your soon to be husband.  If planning is stressing you out too much, make a date night with your boy and vow NOT to talk about anything wedding related.  It will give you a little perspective when you get back to it.  Enjoy it since the goal is to only do it once forever and ever.

So those are my tips.  Have any more suggestions for Brides to be?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Project Yard Sale

Oh my lovely blog!  How I've missed you!  But I have been super, duper busy.  Mostly with work, but also with trying to round up various amounts of pure STUFF to throw in the yard sale, which happens to be this coming Saturday.  I am particularly proud of this yard sale because my powers of persuasion fueled it's very existence.  Nick and I live in an apartment complex that has some very unusual rules, one of which is that you aren't allowed to sell anything in a public setting.  Meaning, there's no way they'd let us schlep our crap down to the nearest corner and hold our own yard sale. (I have actually witnessed a staff member politely tell one of our neighbors to take the "For Sale" sign out of his vehicle, they are that strange about selling things on their property.) 

After 2 years of living here though, we are in desparate need of a clean-out. I used my powers of Facebook-fu to suggest the idea in the community forum for the apartment complex.  A few other residents chimed in that they'd like to have a yard sale too, and then the office got behind it.  We are now having our very first community yard sale, with set-up space, marketing, and tables provided by the apartment complex!  Saturday's weather forcast looks great too, so it should be a FANTASTIC day.  I'm so excited.

On top of the normal kind of household items you find in a garage sale, I'll be selling a bunch of my jewelry too.  Hopefully that will bring in some extra funds and spark some interest in my beading classes. One can only hope...

Friday, July 22, 2011

I heart Etsy

I've been browsing my fellow Ravelry member's Etsy shops recently and have decided to re-open my own.  Actually...I opened it over a year ago and then never put any items in it.  I still only have a handful of items in there now, but at least it's a start.  You can see some of the items in the navigation bar on the left side of the page.  Stop in and check it out.  The goal is for it to be mostly dachshund themed accessories, but it will probably be a little mix of everything.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer is here!

I'm sitting here tonight reading through my favorite blogs and started thinking to myself, "Man, why hasn't anyone posted an update to their site in like...forever."  Aaand then it occurred to me that, oops...I haven't done it either.   The last post was Memorial day, and here we are 3 days before Independence day.  I think you can guess, but I've been a very busy lady.

Mainly I've been occupied with wedding planning.  Thankfully, we FINALLY found a venue that is in a reasonable price range and doesn't require the use of some ridiculous caterer.  I also finished the crochet shrug I had intended* on wearing with my dress.  Speaking of my dress, I picked it up a couple weeks ago.  It's tucked safely away in my very own closet, and I've instilled the fear of Kacie's righteous fury into Nicholas lest he try to take a peek at it. (Not that he could get to it anyway with all the stuff I set up as a road block to keep the cat out of that section of the closet, but I'm not taking any chances.)

*I say intended because after trying it on with my dress, the 2 colors of white don't look anything similar to one another.  Still a great little project, but unfortunately it will not be making an appearance on my wedding day.

I've also learned to combine my crochet love with a little bit of beading to come up with this:

It's a technique that, simply enough, is called tubular bead crochet.  I've since made 3 more bracelets in different colors and patterns, including a red-white-& blue one for the Fouth of July, and I probably won't be stopping any time soon.  They take a few hours each to make, but they're so much fun and a really great project to sit down and watch a movie.  I just love 'em. I had to have the windshield replaced on my car this week after it got a crack, and I made one while I was waiting for the repairs to get finished.  It really is perfect for lazy summer days when you just want to sit and soak up the air-conditioning.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Bake a pie. Play some baseball.  Throw some hot dogs on the grill and spend time with family.  Enjoy your holiday and remember to stop and thank all the soldiers--past, present, and future who've sacrificed to bring you that freedom.  Happy Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All quiet on the craft-front

What's happening?  Long time, no see.

I haven't been crafting very much lately.  I've been tinkering with wedding stuff or continuing with works in progress mostly.  I am however trying to design a padded Kindle case for my sister, and if I'm succesful I may try and write up a tutorial for it. No promises though.

The only other craft-worthy news is my venture into the world of paper flowers.  I found several on the Martha Stewart Weddings site and have started to assemble a few for our centerpieces.  Here's the combination that seems to be the favorite so far. They look a lot better in the for reals.  Photography seems to flatten them out, no matter what angle they're shot from.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A New Spin on Yarn

(If that title hasn't been used a million times already...)


I'm trying out a hobby that is new to me, but is in fact very old.  So old that most folks don't even do it any more.  I'm trying spinning. Not the sweaty kind where you're surrounded by a bunch of strangers on stationary bikes at the gym, but the yarn-y kind where you turn fiber into something you can knit with.

It is a lot harder that all those online videos that I've been watching make it out to be, but I did manage to create a horrendous-looking  yarn-like creation last night on my 2nd attempt with the new drop spindle. (We're not going to even talk about the first attempt.  Let's just say it involved a lot of words that sweet little ladies aren't supposed to say and a certain dachshund who thinks he's starved for attention.)

I whole-heartedly blame the ladies of "My Other Hobby Swap Group" on Ravely for this new interest. Especially Becca, who makes things like this, which make me want to drool over my keyboard every time she posts a photo of her spinning: could you NOT want to knit something out of yarn that pretty. (P.S. She's got an etsy shop here.) I am determined to make something I can knit with, so I'll keep practicing and show you another picture when I deem the yarn worthy enough.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Advertise Here!

In a previous post I mentioned that I recently became certified as an instructor to teach jewelry classes for Michaels.  It's going well, but not getting off to quite the start I wanted. Normally, Michaels has a dress code for its employees of a black shirt and khaki pants, but they're letting it slide on Fridays in favor of a red, white, and blue theme from now until July 4th. We're encouraged to jazz up our patriotic colors by decorating our shirts.  How does this relate to my jewelry class?  I designed my t-shirt to be a walking advertisement.

This is one of 2 shirts that I created using my new cricut machine. (Yes, I bought a cricut.  I've only been eyeing them for the better part of a this just gave me the perfect excuse.  That and a price-match to a competitor's sale ad.)  The other shirt is red and reads, "Yeah.  I made it.  Take a jewelry class and you can too."  For the beaded section I installed 2 metal eyelets in the back of the shirt.  I strung up the beads just like I would to make a bracelet, and used 2 bars from a toggle style clasp to finish the ends. So now, I can take the beads off to wash the shirt, or swap the same "bracelet" back and forth between my 2 shirts in a matter of seconds. (Insert gloating over my genius here.)

Now, if you've ever heard of the cricut, and actually know what it does, you're probably wondering how I made the lettering for my shirt with it.  Instead of scrapbook paper, I put a piece of freezer paper on the cutting mat with the paper side up and the waxy side facing the mat.  I cut out the words with the cricut and used the negative image as a stencil. Peel the freezer paper off the cutting mat, and iron the paper on the shirt. See this tutorial for step-by-step instructions. (My only suggestion is to sort-of disregard her note about setting the paint with an iron at the end.  You only have to do this if the instructions on your fabric paint TELL you to do this. Not all paints will need it.) Three coats of white fabric paint later...finished shirt!  Hopefully it will encourage more people to become my students, instead of just customers. Even if it doesn't, that's a pretty awesome looking shirt.  : )

Monday, April 11, 2011

Favor Construction

As and instructions for the wedding favors.

In case you missed them before, here's the list of materials you'll need:

  • Glassine favor bags, mine came in a pack of 100 from Wilton. (Which is handy, because that's the number I need to make!)
  • Wild flower seed mix of your choice. I purchased two 32 oz bags, which I'm approximating will be enough for just over 100 favors
  • Hand-held ribbon punch
  • Ribbon, no wider than your punch will accomodate.  Mine is 1/4 inch wide, and I'll be using 12 inches per favor.
  • Colored office paper to match your theme
  • Decorative scrapbooking brads.  I purchased two 50 packs of silver hearts.
You will also need some sort of word processing software and a printer, and either a paper trimmer or a pair of scissors to separate your "flyers".

The first thing you need to do is create the flyers with your personalized message.  I found a cute quote about gardens, and included a little note for my guests. Use your word processing software to maximize the number of flyers you can print on one sheet. (Hint: you can make them 2 sided and include the planting instructions for the seeds on the side that faces the bag.) In my case, I was able to fit 6 "messages" on one page. Don't forget to leave extra space at the top of the message to allow for the decoration above it.

Print out as many pages as you need for all your favors, and trim them down with your scissors or paper trimmer. They should be slightly smaller than your favor bags. Set them aside for the time being.

Next, start filling your bags with the flower seeds.  I put 1 Tablespoon of seeds in each bag.  It may not look like a lot, but there are plenty of seeds in that small amount of mixture.  If you'd like to add more, don't be afraid to do so, just expect that you may have to purchase another bag of seeds.

Fold the top of the bag down (at least twice) to prevent the seeds from falling out. Then lay one of your flyers on the front of the bag. Use your ribbon punch to set a hole through all the layers.  I just eye-balled what looked like the center of the bag, but you can measure it if you like.

Before I go too much farther, let me stop and explain what a ribbon punch is.  It works just like a single-hole punch, but instead of making a round hole, it leaves 2 parallel rectangles which are designed to string ribbon through.  You can get them in a single, hand-held punch like I used for this project, or as a larger punch designed for borders, which will punch multiple holes at the same time, while keeping them evenly spaced.
This is what the holes look
like for a ribbon punch.

After your holes are places, cut a section of ribon 12 inches long, and string it through the holes.  Tie it in a bow, being careful not to pull too tightly that it crushes the center divider between your two punched holes.

You should have a little wiggle room after tying the knot of your bow.  Using that same space, slide the brad into the holes just below the bow. Open the tongs on the back side of the envelope to fasten it in place. 

Ta-dah!  You have a finished wedding favor to pass along to your guests.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Outlook is Favorable

I am soooo very excited about my wedding favors that I couldn't even wait to take a photo before I blogged about them. Mostly, because they work out to cost only 45 cents each!  Here's the break-down:

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(1) 500 pack of colored paper-regularly $14, but I used a coupon for half off at Michaels.  There's 5 colors in the package, so calculating out just what I'm using for the favors ($7 divided by 5), this equates to 100 sheets for:$1.40
(1) package of 100 glassine favor bags by Wilton (I could have gotten this half off at Michaels if I wanted to come back another day with a separate coupon)$10.00
(4) rolls of 1/4 inch ribbon (I had these on hand, but I'm over-estimating their price since I bought them on sale for 3 for a buck a while ago)$4.00
(2) Packages of decorative heart shaped brads, purchased during a 40% off sale at Michaels, normally $2.99 each$3.60
Hand-held ribbon punch, purchased at full price (Again, I could have gotten this half off at Michaels if I wanted to come back another day with a separate coupon)$6.00
(2) packages of wild flower seeds (32 oz each) from Lowe's for $10 each$20.00
Total cost for supplies$45.00
Divided by 100 favorsequals 45 cents each

Photos and assembly instructions to follow next week!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wedding Crafts

This past month has been extremely busy, but I have managed to crank out some more wedding crafts, including this nifty T-shirt using the leftover hotfix crystals from making my veil.

I've also got a good start on my jewelry, despite the horrible photographs that accompany them.


I also plan on making a matching bracelet for myself and similar jewelry for my bridesmaid.

Also in jewelry news...I held my first class as a certified jewelry instructor on Monday at the local Michaels.  I'm looking forward to creating more jewelry projects to help with marketing. It should be a lot of fun.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Time well spent

I finished making my veil today.  As I stated before, I relied heavily on the tutorial directions written by Jennifer Stern at CraftStylish. It couldn't have turned out more beautifully. Forgive the photographs.  Tulle just doesn't seem to show up very well on camera.

I used 108 inch wide tulle and rounded the lower corners.  Initially, I had planned on making it two layers, but once I had gathered the first layer, I decided there was more than enough fullness so I scrapped the second. (Anybody want some extra tulle?) 

After I had the shape right, I pinned 1/4" satin ribbon around the edge and sewed it in place using a straight stitch on my machine. This takes a LOT of time and can be really frustrating, so it's best to do it in smaller sessions.  Also, it is easier to pin the ribbon about half an inch in from the edge of the tulle, because it likes to slide around.  On my first attempt, I didn't notice that the tulle was slipping too far behind my ribbon.  I was just stitching a nice straight line through the ribbon and it wasn't being attached to the tulle at all. After adjusting, it gave the tulle enough room to slide, but I was still catching it as I stitched. But before you actually get to the sewing...

Did I mention that tulle likes to slide around? A lot?  It's going to do it vertically along your stitching line too.  I mastered this by finding the bottom center of the veil and marking it with a safety pin.  Then, I unwound my entire spool of ribbon and found the center point of that.  I lined up my centers when I pinned the ribbon in place and worked my way up on either side, moving toward the top edge.  This is also how I sewed it.  Start at the bottom center and work your way up either side.  The excess will get worked out as you sew and you won't have to worry about the ribbon being too short on one side.

Once the ribbon was in place, I trimmed the excess tulle along the edges so they'd be closer to the seam line and covered by the edge of the ribbon.  Then I cut the entire veil to length.  I chose the fingertip length of about 40 inches.  (Jennifer's directions list some other common lengths if you're looking for something different.)

After cutting the correct length, I followed the tutorial directions for gathering the top edge and attaching it to the comb. The initial attachment with thread was not difficult, but using the 1/8" ribbon was more challenging.  Firm, but gentle is the key to that step.  Several times I was worried I was going to rip the tulle trying to force the ribbon through the top. Thankfully, I didn't.  Sit down in front of a good movie and take your time with it. If you're going to cover the top of the comb with flowers or another large decoration like the tutorial shows, I would suggest skipping this step all together.  This took longer than sewing the ribbon around the edge.  It doesn't make much sense to put that much work into something that you won't see if you plan to cover it. That's just me though...

Finally, I used some hotfix crystals (pearls really) to edge the lower "sewing line" of the ribbon. I haven't used the hotfix tool much, but here are some things to keep in mind about it.  First, IT'S HOT.  It's just like using a hot glue gun, so don't go touching the tip unless you want to get burned.  The only real difference is that the glue is stored on the crystal, instead of being squirted out with a trigger. Second, it's possible to shove the crystal too far into the tip so it won't release onto the garment.  Keep a sewing pin handy to slide in the tip opening to remove it if this happens. That way, you won't have any issues with my first informative tip about hotfix tools. Lastly, make sure you have plenty of extra gems on hand.  Each gem is kind of a one-shot deal.  If it gets stuck in the tool tip they can start to burn, which affects their color, so you won't want it on your finished product.  Also, it's easy to have them fall out of the tool tip when you flip it over after heating the glue.  I had a couple that ended up adorning my heating pad, rather than the veil. 

Overall, the project was very easy to complete, but it took a great deal of time with the additional embellishments.  I'm very happy with the way it turned out.  It may not be as professional looking as a store-bought veil, but it's definitely good enough for a couple hours of wear at a small family get-together like we're having. And the final cost was still less that $20 after adding the hotfix crystals.  Can't get much better than that.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

The blog has officially been around for an entire year.  Very exciting indeed, but we're going to move right along now and pretend that I haven't been slacking on craft posts. *cough*

Last weekend I ventured out for the very first time to try and select a dress for my wedding.  This particular outing ended up being pretty disastrous thanks to a combination of horridly unhelpful bridal consultant, poor dress selection in my price range, and my own freakishly large rib cage that refused to fit into any gown despite it being 4 sizes too large for me everywhere else. In summary, by the time we finished I was extremely frustrated and angry.  Wanting to take back control of the situation, I began crafting my accessories for my big day, nearly the second after arriving back home. 

First up, a cute crochet shrug because I want my shoulders to be covered and 98% (or more) of the wedding dresses out there are strapless. (Can anyone say, Designer FAIL?) The pattern I finally settled on is  Berniolies Designs' Rainbow Shrug , minus the whole rainbow thing.  I'm making it out of a really pretty bamboo silk white yarn by Ella Rae, in the "Cloud" colorway.  It will look something like this when I'm finished with it.

Photo belongs to Berniolie.

The second project I started, which will probably be more difficult to finish, is my veil.  Jennifer Stern has an excellent tutorial at CraftStylish for how to make one (which I'm deviating from quite a bit). I plan to follow her construction technique to put it all together though.  The best part of this's cost!  I purchased all the necessary supplies for $15 and change. From what I've read online, veils can easily be between $75 and $300, so I'm psyched about my savings.  If I do hit a rough patch and can't make it work the way I want, I'm still only out the fifteen bucks. My plan though is to use some Jolee's hotfix pearls to embellish the tulle, so I'll probably spend a little more on it in the end. Still...a great bargain.  I'll post some pictures once I get farther into the project, and determine if it is feasible enough to complete.

Ooh!  I almost forgot!  I also completed my Wilton gumpaste and fondant course this week.  Check out my super hawt cake that I made for "graduation". 

That's right.  I made it.  The fondant too. Pee Ess I heart Karen!


Monday, February 14, 2011


It is Valentine's day.  You'd think I'd have cutesy heart-shaped notions for you to create and share with all of your loved ones, but...I don't.

I could tell you that my car overheated today on my way home from work, leaving long giant poofs of white smoke trailing in my wake. Or, I could tell you that I haven't crafted anything new because I'm diligently working to FINISH projects that have been hibernating in the closet.  Or, I could tell you that I'm suprised to be blogging at all because my keyboard tray has decided it no longer wishes to be attached to my desk, and I can't seem to find any screws to replace the ones that have fallen out.  I could tell you these things, (which all happen to be true) but they are still excuses.  I just don't have a Valentine's project.  And now I am going to eat a giant slice of chocolate cake and ponder if there will be a project for next week...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Great Cake Debate

I need a fantastic recipe for white cake. It needs to be flavorful, and moist, while also being able to hold it's shape well, since it will most likely be required to travel. I have high standards for my recipe because this will be the most important cake of all my life.  That's right will be my wedding cake.  And I am going to MAKE IT!!

This week I did a trial run of the first recipe candidate in the form of cupcakes.  I also tested out a new frosting recipe and dazzled the top with coconut. Safe to say that neither recipe is "the one" for the big day, but they are pretty tasty none-the-less.

For the cupcakes, I used the Simple White Cake recipe that I found at  It's a very dense cake, but was sort of grainy.  While it didn't taste like cornbread, that's what it felt like in your mouth.  It tastes great though, so if you're looking for quick and easy cupcakes for junior's next birthday party give 'em a try.  The recipe was just enough to make 12 perfect cupcakes.

The second recipe I tried was the Coconut Fluff Icing from I didn't have any coconut extract though, so I used almond instead.  It behaves like whipped cream and tastes like marshmallows.  It's pretty yummy, but not even close to what I want for the big day. 

Have a recipe you think I should try?  Send me a note and I'll bake it up!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crochet Rewritten

Photo courtesy of Penny Davidson

Enough Love to Go Around 2.0

Original Design by Penny Davidson    
Rewritten by BlameCrayons

U.S. terminology used. DK weight yarn and size F hook will yield an 8” square. A worsted weight yarn will yield a 12” square. Blocking is required to pull corners into correct shape.

My Ravelry group decided to use Penny’s design as part of our monthly crochet-a-long. It is a very beautiful square, but several of us experienced great difficulty trying to decipher the written directions for it. So much difficulty in fact, that many people chose to move on to another square instead of completing “Enough Love to Go Around”. I decided to try my hand at rewriting the pattern, in the hopes that those who gave up on it, might have the opportunity to include this lovely design in their afghans. ALL the credit for this design should go to Penny Davidson. If you’d like to view the original pattern, please visit her website here.

I’ve found it easiest to think of each round as being divided into quarters. I’ve named the corners using the children’s song, “I know an old lady who swallowed a fly”, because it made it easier to explain where their location should be. Stop after the first quarter of the round is complete and look at the work. You’ll notice there is a balanced pattern with the “animal” section being the center of the quarter. After you see the pattern, simply repeat it for the remaining 3 quarters of the square and then join to the beginning chain. I hope this will help you visualize what the rounds should look like. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Abbreviations used:
ch=chain, sc=single crochet, dc=double crochet, tr=treble crochet, hdc=half-double crochet, dtr=double treble crochet sts= stitches

Round 1: Ch6. Join with a slst to form a ring. (A magic loop can also be used if preferred.) Ch3 (counts as first DC), ch1. (DC in ring, ch1) 7 more times. Join with a slst to top of ch3. --You will now have 8 DC posts and 8 ch1 spaces.

Round 2: Slst into first ch1 space. Ch3 (counts as first DC). (DC, ch1, 2DC, ch1, 2DC) in the same space. Ch1. *Skip the next ch1 space and the next DC. (2DC, ch1, 2DC, ch1, 2DC) in the next ch1 space. Ch1. Repeat from * 2 more times. Join with slst to top of ch3.—4 clusters made, each having 3 pairs of DC and 2 ch1 spaces.

Round 3: Slst into the space between the first pair of DC on the first cluster from the previous round. Ch3 (counts as DC). DC in the same space. Ch1. 3DC between the 2nd pair of DC on the first cluster of the previous round. Ch1. 2DC between the last pair of DC on the first cluster of the previous round. Ch2. Work your way around the remaining clusters following the same pattern.

2DC between the first pair, ch1
3DC between the 2nd pair (fly made), ch1
2DC between the 3rd pair, ch2

Join with a slst to top of ch3.

Round 4: is worked in a similar fashion to round 3, utilizing the spaces between the DC pairs on the previous clusters. Slst into the space between the first 2 DC. ch3 (counts as DC). Work 2DC in the same space. Ch1. 2DC between the first pair of DC in the fly. 2 DC between the 2nd pair of DC in the fly. Ch1. 3DC between the next pair of DC. Ch2. Work your way around the remaining clusters following the same pattern.

3DC between the first pair, ch1
2DC between the first pair of DC in the fly, 2DC between the 2nd pair of DC in the fly (spider made), ch1
3DC between the final pair, ch2

Join with a slst to top of ch3.

Round 5: is worked similarly to rounds 3 and 4, utilizing the spaces between the DC pairs on the previous segments. Slst into the space between the first 2 DC. Ch3 (counts as DC). DC in same space. DC between the next DC pair. Ch1. In the spaces between the DC pairs of the spider, work 2DC in the first pair, DC in the center space, and 2 DC in the last pair. Ch1. DC between the next DC pair. 2DC between the next DC pair. Ch2. Work your way around the remaining clusters following the same pattern.

2DC between the first pair, DC in the next pair, ch1
2DC in the first pair of DC on the spider, DC in the center pair space of the spider, 2DC in the last pair space of the spider,(bird made) ch1
DC between the next pair of DC, 2DC in the last pair of DC, ch2

Join with a slst to top of ch3.—44 DC posts, 8 ch1 spaces, 4 ch2 spaces.

Round 6: Just like rounds 3-5, use the spaces between the DC pairs. Slst into the space between the first pair. Ch3 (counts as DC) DC in the same space. DC in the next pair, ch1. Working in the bird, 2DC in the first pair, DC in the next 2 pairs, 2DC in the last pair. Ch1. DC in the next pair, 2DC in the next pair, ch3. Follow the pattern around.

2DC in the first pair, DC in the next pair, ch1
Inside the bird, 2DC in the first pair, DC in the next 2 pairs, 2DC in the last pair (cat made). Ch1
DC in the next pair, 2DC in the next pair, ch3.

Join with a slst to top of ch3.—48 DC posts, 8 ch1 spaces, 4 ch3 spaces

Round 7: With only the joining loop on your hook, begin working *in the next ch1 space. (Tr, ch1) 7 times, Tr. Slst between the center pair of DC in the cat. In the next ch1 space, (Tr, ch1) 7 times, Tr. Slst in the first ch of the ch3 space. 2sc in the ch3 space. Slst to the right side of the next DC. Repeat from * around. Join with a slst to the first Tr. Fasten off yarn—you should now have 8 shells around the outside of the square. If you look closely, the entire design resembles 4 hearts, joined together in the center by their lower points.

Round 8: Stop and take a quick look at the heart shapes. You’re going to join the new yarn in the left arch on the top of one of those hearts. (Use a new color if you wish.) **Find the place where you did a slst in the center of the cat from round 7. Found it? From that location, skip 2 Tr and join your yarn in the next ch1 space.

Part A- ch1 (counts as the first sc) *sc in the next Tr. Sc in the next ch1 space* Repeat between the *’s 3 more times. Sc in the next Tr. –you should have a total of 10sc in the top portion of the arch, the last sc being on the second to last Tr of the shell.

Part B- In the next sc (on the flat portion between 2 of the hearts) work 2 Tr. (Dtr, ch2, Dtr)in the next sc (corner made). 2Tr in the joining slst of the next arch. (You should now be at the right edge of the next heart shape.) Skip the next 2 Tr and slst in the next ch1 space, just like when you joined your yarn at the beginning of the round.

Work Part A in the right arch of the heart. Ch2. Tr in the joining slst between the 2 arches. Ch2. Repeat from ** around. Join with a slst to first sc.

Round 9: ch3 (counts as DC), *complete the following over the next 9 sc: hdc, sc in the next 3 sts, hdc, dc in the next 2 sts, tr in the next 2 sts.

Dtr in the next 3 stitches. (2Dtr, ch3, 2Dtr) in corner ch2 space. Dtr in the next 3 sts.
Tr in the next 2 sts, dc in the next 2 sts, hdc, sc in the next 3 sts, hdc, dc.
2DC in the next ch space. Skip the tr and 2 DC in the next ch sp.** DC in the next sc. Repeat from * around to **. Join with slst to top of beginning ch3.

Round 10: ch2 (counts as first hdc). Hdc in every stitch around. When you reach a corner ch3 space, work (3hdc, ch2, 3hdc). Join with slst to top of ch2. Fasten off. Flatten and block into shape.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sick = Knitting

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  My Christmas was fantastic, but unfortunately a couple of my relatives were or had been ill recently.  My body is a natural sponge for any type of germ that exists in a 100 foot radius around me, so of course 2 days afterward, I've been stricken with not one of the worst, but certainly one of the most obnoxious and persistant colds I've ever had. This is not all bad though.  Being ill forces you to stop and do something quiet in between all the naps, so this is what I've done. 

I'm starting to learn a color technique called Intarsia. This is the first practice swatch I've made.  Looks like a dachshund to me! And since that's the chart I was working from, it's good that that's the way the picture turned out. : )  It's pretty challenging, and definitely a lot of work, but can make a lot of basic projects look much nicer.  I'm going to keep practicing, since I have a couple of projects in my ravelry que that call for this technique.   It should be an adventure...