Saturday, April 11, 2009

"C" is for Cookie...and Car

Today was all about Cookies! I made some sugar cookies for Easter. I thought I made so many more than I really did; my broken back sure feels like it too. Hunching over and decorating cookies is not a good idea. I tend to ignore comfort when it comes to making things. I guess I get caught up in the moment and don't think about how my body will feel in a few hours. Here's a little sampling of the goodies...

On a sadder note, I said good bye to my Volvo yesterday and traded it in for a new car. I really loved the Volvo for some reason and I teared up a little as I walked away from it for the last time. This is the only car I ever saw on the road and felt like I really wanted one of my own. It was my dream car and unfortunately in its old age, repairs were going to cost more than it was worth. I know you have a lot more than 135,000 miles in you but I had to make an economical decision that had nothing to do with my heart. So good bye and thank you for keeping us safe and for hauling all those garage sale goodies and maybe you had something to do with me not getting a ticket for accidentally passing a school bus with the stop sign out that day.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

In Your Face, Diamond Stitch!

I have been trying to figure out how to do the Diamond Stitch on and off for a couple years now. I couldn't find any tutorials on line and I have no one to ask for help. I would revisit the pattern every so often with a fresh perspective but it just wouldn't come together. I searched for comparable patterns, like cables and cross stitches, but they just didn't compare to the Diamond Stitch. I finally conquered it and it feels great. A person can sit alone, count stitches, read and re-read directions for only so long before they become a little weird. I passed that point a long time ago. Here's a picture of my pride and joy.

I'm making a baby blanket for a friend; the pattern alternates panels of the Diamond Stitch and a Basket Weave Stitch. I'll post pictures when I'm done. I will be on Spring Break all next week so I can Diamond Stitch the days away!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My greatest acheivement of all time

I can't believe I forgot to blog about these. I made them for St. Patrick's Day in Hoboken on March 7th. They're jell-o shots, but with a little Irish spirit. Sorry for the blurry photo, I took it with my iphone while I was cutting them up, in a rush and running late as usual.


Simply prepare the jell-o according to the package directions, except replace half the cold water with cold vodka. Pour one layer, let it chill, and then prepare and pour the next layer. Be sure to let the 2nd and 3rd layers come to room temp before pouring them onto the previous layer, so the new layer doesn't re-melt the old layer.

For the white center, it's just unflavored gelatin prepared with 1 large can of sweetened condensed milk in place of some of the water. Don't be grossed out by milk in jell-o. You can't taste it at all, I promise. Honestly, I couldn't find a good recipe so I just winged it, and it came out perfectly.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lazy Daisy

Nothing brightens up a desk like a big bouquet of Gerber daisies from Trader Joe's

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Yesterday was a rainy day, and I had a paper to write, so I bought these to perk up my workspace.

Also, if you haven't yet tried it, Poladroid allows you to polaroid-ify any photo on your computer. You can watch it develop on your desk top! Coolest thing everrr.

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

In a galaxy far, far away...

My friend Michelle posed a new challenge to me last week, she requested Star Wars cupcakes at her birthday party this weekend. My brain went blank. The last time Star Wars has crossed my mind was 1997 when I went to see the re-releases on the big screen. So I scoured Google Image for ideas, and the Star Wars themed cupcakes that came back were either entirely uninspired, or professionally done with fondant and airbrushing.

So I sat down and put my mind to it, and came up with three designs that I'm really excited to bring with me to the party tonight.

Dueling Light Sabers
I piped these little light sabers onto wax paper with melted tinted white chocolate. Once they set up, I just frosted the cupcakes and stuck the light sabers into the chocolate. Easy peasy.

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Princess Leias
I can't believe no one thought of this already. These cupcakes are simply frosted to look like a face, and then decorated with oreos to get the signature Princess Leia hair thingys. What the heck are those, earmuffs? Cinnamon buns?

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I piped with melted chocolate on the sides of the oreos to get the hair swirl effect.

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Death Stars
These are just frosted and piped to look like Death Stars. I was going to do something totally convoluted with munchkins dunked in gray chocolate, but they came out so unappetizing, I tossed them. And of course, May the Force be with you.

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I'm sure they'll be a hit.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Knots and Nuts

I finished my sampler last night! I'm so happy with the way it came out. I'm going to frame it today. I got the pattern from this great website, in case you want to try it yourself! Nordic Craft

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I especially love my french knots, which I've never been able to do very well until I mastered them for this project.

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I'm enjoying my last days of vacation before my semester starts up once again. I made these nuts for my mom to take to a cocktail party with her. The recipe came from Smitten Kitchen and they're fantastic. Every recipe from that website comes out great!

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Sugar-and-Spice Candied Nuts
Adapted from Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country, printed in New York Magazine

1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper (I left this out)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound walnut or pecan halves or whole peeled hazelnuts (I used a mix)
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add walnuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hello 2009

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To tell the truth, I wasn't very excited for this year to begin. 2008 was so exciting! I had surgery, quit my job, moved, started school, and made a bunch of new friends. In 2010, I'll be finishing my degree and (hopefully!) starting a new career. 2009 is like this weird, in between year that I must trudge through to get to the other side.

So naturally I set my standard 8 million resolutions, which I do every year, and then forget about them until December when I look back on my list and realize how much I didn't accomplish. "Wow," I thought, "That's really depressing". So I scrapped my list and wrote a new one, and when I looked at it, I realized that every resolution I made could be lumped into one category, and that became my single resolution for 2009.

This year, I resolve to make my life as beautiful as possible. This includes my usual "be more tidy" and "exercise!!!" resolutions, but it also includes crossing things off my craft list, throwing my energy into a larger, more planned out garden this summer, spending as much time as possible with my friends and family while also taking time for myself, and working through all my bookmarked recipes. It means that I am going to try to notice and appreciate the little details every day, take walks, be outside. I want to never feel as if a day was wasted. I want to limit my crankiness and try to bring happiness to other people's lives as well. And, the best thing about this resolution is that if I fail to accomplish one of the items on my list, I will still have accomplished many others, making 2009 a success.

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I got my year kicked off with a new sewing machine (thanks mom!) and the completion of this project. It's a lap quilt that I started working on in August, using a vintage tablecloth as the top rather than patchwork. Getting this pile of batting, fabric, and threads up off my floor and morphed into something functional (and snuggly) made me happy, neatened up my space, and adds something a little bit more special to evenings curled up on the couch with a book. (The picture up top is a sneak preview of my next project, an embroidery sampler, which I plan to frame and hang above my desk for inspiration all year.)

I hope your 2009 is as great as mine is going to be! Happy New Year!