So I was headed to Bible study the other night and wasn't impressed with my accessories. I was wearing a simple brown cable knit sweater and it needed some serious dressing up! I borrowed a necklace from my ready to sell stash and then was stumped as far as earrings. So I made a few pairs...
I hardly ever wear gold so I didn't have any gold or bronze ear wires. I improvised and just made hooks out of the wire I was using for the earrings. They look great but after a few hours they hurt! So I love all three...I'm wearing the big brown hoops now but that night I chose the wire wrapped shells.
I love that I can make jewelry to match my mood or my outfit! So fun!
lately since i haven't been sleeping well i've been doing lots of little busy work projects with my hands. a project that allows me to keep my mind busy while doing something else has been very helpful. out of this need to keep my mind and hands busy have been born three little flowers.
the first were the crocheted flowers i wrote about yesterday,
The second inspired by the pleated poppy and her awesome posy pins (which you should probably go buy). I had some matchy matchy fabric and just had to see if I could make a posy pin of my own! I'm totally keeping this one
and the second will soon be on it's way to a girl i know in the Northwoods who just turned 10!
It had two others to go with it, but a certain monster pup decided to destroy them.
The third fancy flower was inspired by this tutorial for a felt flower pin.
I wanted something to wear to the HoneyRock partner dinner so I used some fancy fabric I found in my stash. It turned out pretty great, but I should have fray-checked the edges. I didn't take a picture before it got all crazy frayed- but it looked much better! I'd still like to try it with felt- it would produce a totally different look that I think would be pretty great.
Taking all these pictures of my projects lately makes me realize two things. Number one, our dog sheds EVERYWHERE. I knew that before, but all these close ups are showing Maddie fur weaved right into nearly everything I do. Second, I have a serious problem branching out from the color green. It's really my favorite color and it inspires me. I can be in the store, find a green bead or piece of paper or fabric and see in my head what it should become. Other colors don't always do that for me, but I need to keep stretching myself to look at other colors and see a finished product.
my little hook and i have been quite busy! though there are still 3 or 4 unfinished projects i have going (including a wedding present that is almost 8 months late) i was able to knock off 3 finished products this week! one is a scarf that i decided to make at the last minute for craft hope (the same organization that organized the etsy shop for haiti). this month's project are red scarves that are being sent to college age students leaving the foster care system. i decided just a few days ago to do a scarf and got about 1/3 of the way through this pattern before i changed my mind, ripped the whole thing out and made up my own pattern. here's what I came up with:
it's stitch up lengthwise, so i chained a few hundred- until i thought it was long enough- then did a row of single crochet. one of the stitches i really liked from the original pattern is the seed stitch: basically alternating single crochet and chain stitch- so i did that for about 6 rows. at that point i decided it wasn't going fast enough so i added in a row of half double crochet, then a row of double crochet. it still wasn't getting wide enough so i added 3 rows of mesh stitch using triple crochet- that got tall fast! at that point i started fearing i would run out of yarn so i just mirrored everything i had done up to that point. i'm happy with how it turned out- soft and fluffly not too tight at all!
Next up are these little flowers! A woman in my mom's Bible study was wearing a crocheted flower pin the other day and said she paid something like $12 for it. I figure I need to get in on that market! They're adorable, super easy and very versatile! I'm going to continue to experiment with colors and styles before I list them but I'm pleased at the progress!
My newest adventure with the crochet hook was inspired by something in my happy hooker book. There's a pattern in the book for crochet jewelry which I used as a jumping off point for what will soon be a bracelet and a necklace. The crocheting is all done I just need to come up with a clasp for each that sort of matches the wire. I used brownish 26 gauge wire and two sizes of green glass beads I got on clearance a while back.
The necklace is just a long chain with beads added in and the bracelet is two rows of crochet with lots of beads. It was so fun! I need to keep playing with the size of the hook and wire before these end up in the shop but i LOVE this new endeavor!
This Friday our friends Lynn & Jon hosted an Opening Ceremonies party for the Vancouver Olympics. If you've spent any time with me at all you know I LIVE for the Olympics. They are my favorite two weeks every two years, and I especially love the Winter Olympics. I think it's something about growing up as a figure skater but I would chose the winter games over the summer any day. I've also been super excited about these particular Olympics because they are taking place in Canada which I sometimes consider to be my homeland. We lived there for almost a year when I was in kindergarten and I just found out that 4 or 5 generations of my French relatives lived in Canada before coming down through Michigan- je suis canadienne!
This was no ordinary party- all food was to be Olympic themed plus we all had to choose a country and dress in a way that represented that country. Hurrah! A reason to be craftee mcgee! So first the food- I racked my brain (and google) all week long and couldn't come up with anything besides olympic ring sugar cookies or brownies cut like hockey pucks. Then Wednesday I was sitting on hold with some insurance company and going through my GoogleReader when something fabulous happened. There it was- the perfect dessert for the party- tagged as gluten free and everything! Lynn has celiac so I try to make as much as possible gluten free and this recipe had Lynn written all over it. SmittenKitchen came through again with Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with Mint White Chocolate Whipped Cream!! I immediately emailed Lynn and told her I wasn't sure how I'd make them Olympic but these were what I would be bringing. We agreed that they were just so awesome it didn't matter how Olympic they were! This brought my first adventure into the land of chocolate souffles!
Though there are many steps to these cupcakes they weren't as scary as I thought they'd be and all the work was well worth it the second I tasted one! I doubled the recipe since it only made 9 and I knew I'd likely eat 9 of them by myself! The night before the party I prepared the white chocolate mint cream to be whipped the next day. I heated the cream and used it to melt the white chocolate, then added peppermint extract (I used about 3 times what the recipe called for & I'm glad I did!). The cream chilled in the fridge overnight allowing all the delicious flavors to meld.
I followed the actual cupcake recipe exactly and things went quite well. The texture of the batter before folding in the egg whites worried me a little- it seemed too thick and gritty & the egg whites took forever to incorporate. Turns out they were fine, I just freaked out a little because I'd never made chocolate souffle before and didn't quite know what to expect. So don't give up if folding in the egg whites seems to take forever, just keep folding. I whipped up the cream while the cupcakes were in the oven.
Sidenote: somehow I ended up with more than 18 cupcakes so after filling 18 regular cupcakes I filled about 8 or 9 mini cupcakes. These ended up being my favorite. Bite size chocolate souffle? Amazing!
In hindsight I should have waited and piped on the whipped cream once we got to Lynn's house because it got a little melty and weird, but the verdict on these babies is: DELICIOUS! I will be making them again very very soon.
Lest you think the only craftee pursuit happened in the kitchen- this party required costumes! Brandon was representing japan and thought about wearing this tenegui which is a traditional wrap worn under a kendo helmet. (no i have no idea what any of that means but if you're curious check here).
It ended up looking like a diaper on his head so he wore a head wrap he got in japan instead. I was representing Canada and didn't have a thing to wear. At one point I considered dressing as a Mountie but I couldn't find a red coat, so I made this hoodie instead!
I've been using a lot of fusible webbing to do strange embroidery projects lately- a post on tea towels coming soon- and I knew it was just the thing for this! I printed out the Canadian Maple Leaf and traced it onto a piece of fusible webbing which was then ironed on to this red fabric. Joann's recently had some sort of mix up with their fat quarters and they were all 50 cents so I stocked up! Next step is to cut out the fabric and iron it on to the sweatshirt. The fusible webbing tells you that you can stop here and the fabric is safe to wear and wash, but I don't trust it so I do some sort of finishing stitch around the edges. (which also looks more professional). I wore this to the party without finishing it but have since been satin stitching around the end of the big leaf on the back.
The front needed something too so I sketched out a tiny maple leaf and repeated the process on the front. This one has a running stitch around the edges and a satin stitched stem, which I'm hoping holds everything in place. I made Lynn a Maple Leaf tea towel as a hostess gift -which I forgot to take a picture of- and I used this same method.
The party was a great success! I wish I had remembered the camera because people were super creative in the food they brought- we had medals made out of cheese, single dog luges (pigs in a blanket/bundles of joy), Olympic Ring rice krispie treats (dyed the right colors and all) and even a snow cone machine! The Opening Ceremonies were pretty fabulous- fiddlers, tap dancers, a flying man (Canada has a National Circus School!!) and that ridiculous snafu with the torch where they showed Wayne Gretzky making impatient faces and Steve Nash's creepy smile. All in all I say hurrah Canada!
One of my recent projects has been to take old pictures from around our house and Nana & Papa's house and make copies. We're hoping to start making displays for a memorial service now, before we need them. Though this whole situation is terrible and sad, this particular project has been so much fun for me. I love seeing pictures of my sweet grandpa when he was young and (very) handsome! Here are a few of my favorites so far (sorry the quality isn't great- the were scanned from some pretty old pictures):
This is Papa holding my mom before or after a trip, probably 1957ish. He was a pilot for United until he had to retire when he turned 60 in 1981. He loved flying and still talks about it all the time.
Here's Papa with my mom and Uncle Brad in the house they were having built in Topsfield, MA. My mom loved that house and has a painting of it (done by Nana) in our house.
Okay, besides the crazy shirt (but seriously- how great is that?!) this is how I remember Papa most of my life- taking pictures! He must have taken thousands of pictures during my childhood. Plus he's always been immaculately dressed. I just found out that most of the pictures he took got thrown away and it devastated me. He would choose the ones he liked, put them in an album or send them to us and then throw the rest away. So sad!
Here's my mom and Papa on what I think is his last flight. I've always wished I could have flown with him.
Here he's been a grandpa for just about 2 weeks. Yep- that's me! September 11, 1984. Greatest Papa a girl could ask for.
That arm there is Papa- covered with every toy I could find. Don't I look proud of myself? He was such a good sport!
And now my very favorite photo. I found this in an album my mom had she told me it was "too much" to put up at a wake but I think it is WONDERFUL!
Just look at those two! How adorable can you be?! He was a pilot, she was a flight attendant- the rest is history.
When we visited California in November we went to the Stanford v. Cal game. Before the game we went to the tailgate with Brandon's grandma and all her alumni friends. This isn't just any tailgate- they go all out with food and wine! Not to be outdone, Brandon's mom enlisted my sister-in-law's fiance Gabe to make an edible arrangement. He worked for Edible Arrangements for a while so he is quite the pro! I watched him the morning before the game- mesmerized- and decided I needed to make my own as soon as possible!
What better occasion for a crazy fruit & chocolate creation than the super bowl? So last weekend I searched the house for a good size basket the headed to the store to find the things necessary for such a creation (okay sidenote- I went to the store the first time then wonderful husband went a second time). It was still cheaper than buying one already made, but strawberries and grapes are crazy expensive right now! Luckily the pineapples were only $1.88 each, kale was on sale and lettuce is cheap.
First I chopped up a couple of heads of lettuce to fit in my basket, then I covered all the lettuce with kale. Then came the madness. We dipped strawberries and pineapple in dark and white chocolate and skewered them up- along with grapes and uncovered fruit. I also took two big pieces of pineapple and covered them with dark chocolate and drew on the laces- footballs!
The end result was a ridiculously heavy basket filled with deliciousness! It wasn't as pretty as if we had bought it, or as Gabe's, but not bad for a first attempt. Brandon says if I had been paying more attention when Gabe made his then mine wouldn't have been so heavy- I tried covering all evidence of the bamboo skewers which he didn't do. Overall I'd call project edible arrangement a delicious success! I'll definitely do one again, but not until fruit prices get a little more reasonable!
So this morning while I was on hold with yet another insurance company at work I was reading through my google reader. I stumbled across something truly wonderful on angry chicken. She managed to copy this beautiful dress from Anthropologie (the photo is from her blog and she took it out of the anthro catalog...because anthro won't let you copy/paste images. sad.) First is the dress which I now desperately want. It's green. It's feminine. It's silk. It's GREEN. But it's also $138 which means it will never be mine. If I were at all confident in my sewing abilities I would attempt what she did and copy this beauty. Her's turned out fabulously for only $17! I feel like I would buy some beautiful fabric and then butcher it. Perhaps I'll just save my pennies for the real thing, but by the time I have enough the dress will be long gone from anthro. Oh Anthropologie how you taunt me.