Saturday, December 19, 2009

Yarny Holidays

If you have not read my first post, start at the post before this one, there are other pictures and even a recipe!

I've been knitting!

I've made some christmas dish cloths and I also made a cowl for my father's wife:

The cowl was difficult enough that it gave me the confidence to try something a little more advanced. So now I'm working on my first lace scarf.

I'm so excited about it! The pattern makes sense and it's actually turning out the way it's supposed to so far! I absolutely cannot wait to get it finished and blocked to really show the pattern.
Now, I really hope everyone has a happy holiday season or if nothing else a happier new year than 2009!

Happy Holidays!! (Knitting, Sewing and Baking! Oh My!)

As you may have suspected, I've been keeping pretty busy.

In November I had plans to go to the Carolina Renaissance Fectival with my dear friend, Heather, and her sister, Amber. This year I finally got up the courage to dress up. It was so much fun! It really did make it more enjoyable. The only problem was making what I had to wear fit. My bodice was significantly too small, because, let's face it, I'm not a little person by any means. I had to add a panel on either side. It would have been really easy if there had been a seam where I needed it to be, but nope, had to completely cut it up the side. I freaked out about it a bit, because I have no experience sewing clothes or making alterations of that nature. I managed to get over it though after I made that first cut.
I completely forgot about taking progress pictures to show what I did, but here's the fonished product.

I'm the one in blue. Heather is in purple. I can't wait until next year!
Then weekend after Thanksgiving we started getting ready for christmas. I love the holidays!
Here's a picture of our tress. Why, yes, that is the usual area for my crafting.

Then came the christmas baking...This year I made baklava.
And if you're interested, here's the recipe:
This makes 2 pans.
1 lb phyllo dough, thawed according to package directions
4 cups finely ground pecans
4 cups finely ground walnuts
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground clove
1 1/2 lbs butter (no, that's not a type o)
Combine nuts, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
Prepare work station. This is how I organize myself:

Layer 6-8 phyllo sheets one at a time, brushing each generously with butter. Sprinkle with nut mixture. Layer 4 more phyllo sheets, sprinkle with nuts, ad nauseum until you're left with 6-8 phyllo sheets to go on top.
Most phyllo packages come with 2 rolls of phyllo sheets. One pan is from one roll of phyllo sheets. You should have one roll of phyllo and half the nut mixture left.
Before it goes in the oven, cut it into your preferred size and shape. While you're cutting, preheat oven to 300.
Bake for 15 minutes, then cut oven down to 250 and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

15 minutes before baking time is over, start syrup.
You'll need:
3 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups water
juice of 1 lemon
Boil all syrup ingredients together for 10-15 minutes (med high-med heat). Stir continuously.
This syrup recipe makes only one batch.
After baklava comes out of over, spoon hot syrup over hot baklava.


Friday, September 11, 2009

When Country Came to Town

Last weekend I Michael and I went to the big city of Atlanta, GA for Dragon*Con. We'd only been planning this since May! Needless to say we were very excited, but I was also quite a bit nervous...I have never been to a city as big as Atlanta. (I'm not counting Las Vegas, where Michael and I got married because to me that was like a large network of tiny hotel/cities connected by side walks.) I grew up in a very rural area of a tiny town so this was completely different for me. Country truly had come to town.

We got into Atlanta around 4:30 Thursday afternoon. We checked into our hotel (the Westin at Peachtree Plaza. Don't stay there by the way, it's an overpriced shit hole, pardon my language) and then walked down to the Sheraton where we had to pick up our badges. After standing in a line to stand in another line for several rather interesting, hot, hours we got our badges. Then we had to walk somewhere to get supper. Of course the hill we had walked down to get to the Sheraton didn't seem even a quarter as steep as when we started walking back up it. Halfway there and halfway dead from being fat and terribly out of shape we found a great spot to rest our weary feet: The Metro Cafe, a 24 hour diner/karaoke bar. Great gyro, not the greatest Greek salad, good booze.

Friday morning we got up early for breakfast and to get the line for the first panel were wanted to see. Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner at 10 am. Loved them! We had great seats!

Later on Friday we went to see Charlaine Harris. I'm a huge fan of her Sookie Stackhouse books and now I'm a huge fan of her. Listening to her talk you could tell that she has that perfect mix of sugar, spice and sass that makes southern women so spectacular.

SOmetime on Friday or Saturday, not sure which, we went to see John Billingsley and Anthony Montgomery, who were on Star Trek Enterprise. John Billingsley has also been on this season of True Blood on HBO.

We took a few minutes on Saturday to go to the Walk of Fame the first time. We got to meet Craig Parker. Craig Parker played the slightly overweight elf who commanded the Elven Army that came to help the people in the stronghold fight off the Orcs. He now plays Darken Rahl in Legend of the Seeker (not sure what channel).

We got to see Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.

We got the opportunity to meet Kevin Anderson who co-authors the newest Dune books with Frank Herbert's son, Brian Herbert. We were able to bring our hard back books of his to be signed.

Sunday we got to go to a panel where my favorite author, S.M. Stirling, talked about his books in the Emberverse series. It was absolutely amazing getting to talk to the people who were waiting for the event to start and to sit and listen to Stirling talk about his books. I was very impressed by the process he goes through with his books and how much care he puts into making them just so. We were also able to go to his autograph session.

Then we went back to the Walk of Fame since we had some spare moments.
We got to meet and talk to Tom Felton and Michael got his autograph.

We got to meet Anthony Montgomery and Michael got his autograph.

And John Billingsley...

And just for me, James Marsters. (he's so dreamy!)

And because this is supposed to be a blog about crafting and making things, here are some of the costumes we saw, of which I am sure at least some portion is somewhat handmade. These are the ones that turned out pretty good. No, I don't know what all the characters are.

And for my own viewing pleasure, here are a couple pictures of James Marsters that I wasn't supposed to take. Oops, my finger must have pressed that button without realizing it. Oh, darn.

Overall, Dragon*Con was fantastic. The people, the costumes, the topics...just fantastic. I'm very impressed with the people I got to meet. I know we tend to put celebrities and famous people on a pedestal, but now that I've met a few and talked with them I know better. They're real people just like we are.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

More Crafty Fun!

Look!!! 2 posts in one month! Well, just barely, but it still counts.

Since my last post I've been mostly working, but I have had some crafty opportunities. I just got finished painting 2 boxes for a friend.
I've also been having a rotten bout of insomnia this past week. I had high hopes of sleeping Friday night when I went to bed but was sorely disappointed when I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 2:15am. I surfed on the net for a while and then I got the idea that if I wasn't sleeping, I could at least be productive, so I started organizing my little craft area. When I first set up my craft area I had intended to keep it neat and orderly. If you know me at all, neat and orderly usually doesn't fit in the same sentence with me. The little table quickly became a catch-all. Last weekend I went out and bought some rubbermaid storage drawers just for that purpose. I started working on putting everything away and organizing Saturday morning. It says a lot about the sad state of affairs that I'm still working on it.
I also found out that yarn was a sales tax free item this weekend...
I went by In the Loop at their new shop and I couldn't let these 4 skeins stay there. They begged me to bring them home. Who am I to ignore pretty yarn? And believe me, that's some beautiful stuff!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Still Alive and Crafting

Rumors of my departure have been greatly exagerated! I'm still here, just busier than ever. I haven't had a lot of free time to post here so now you get a big crafty update.

Since the last time I posted, I did finish the hat, but I don't really like it, so I think I'm going to rip out some of it and redo it. Haven't done it yet though. Maybe someday.

This was the spring and early summer of babies. I made 3 baby blankets. The first was for my dear friend Heather and her precious little one, Reese. The pattern is a simple fan and feather that I got from a magazine. So simple and it looks so hard!

This is the second blanket I made for a coworker. Same pattern as above, just a different color.

The third blanket was for a new little cousin. Same pattern, dark blue. Sorry, I didn't even think about taking a picture of it.

I also painted and decoupaged a wooden box for another friend from a web community I belong to. It's simple, but I think it turned out pretty nice.

But this is quite possibly the coolest thing I've done in the past little while.

Who would have ever thought that this wool yarn

plus a pot full of water mixed with Iced Blue Raspberry Lemonaid Koolaid

would make this beautiful shade when all mixed together?

I love it and can't wait to find something to do with it.
My only recommendation would be to wear gloves when dying yarn. I've sported a lovely blue hand all week. Michael thinks I might be turning into a Smurf.
I also am starting to work on a project for Christmas painting plates. Keep your fingers crossed that it works out.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Knit up the Old, Make Room for the New

I'm broke. I make more money at my job that I ever expected to as a state employee, but I bring home less than I ever have. Damn adulthood and bills! I'm not doing so badly though. I'm very appreciative for what I have. Anyway, since I'm trying to do my best at controlling and curbing my spending habits, I'm knitting from my yarn stash instead of just looking at it dreaming.

This is a hat that I'm making from Jaspe Wool by Ella Rae. I got it from In the Loop on Divine Street in Columbia, SC. It's some beautiful stuff. The picture just doesn't do it justice. The colors are just so rich. The richness of it kind of remind me of oil crayons.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


The lovely ladies at The Secret Is In The Sauce are hosting another fabulous giveaway!

Click here for a chance to win! (And meet some awesome new people)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Left Handed Crafting in a Right Handed World

So I'm gathering from the comments on my last post that there are other left handers out there who craft who have problems with learning some crafts.

What kind of lefty are you? Do you do everything with your left hand? Are you somewhat ambidexterous and do things with both hands? Are there some things you can only do left handed and some things you can only do right handed? Let me reassure you that no matter what kind of lefty you are, you are not alone!

It's hard to learn things when you're left handed. I was a kid right before they stopped all that switching a kid from a lefty into a righty nonsense. When my first grade teacher asked my parents if they wanted her to teach me how to be a right hander, my mother told them right where they could stick that idea. Granted, learning to write was a torture, learning to use a pair of scissors was so awful I ended up learning right handed...I can go on and on. I'm sure you have stories of your own though. The end result is me; someone who can write and eat and do most crafty projects with her left hand, use scissors and knit right handed and is ambidextrous putting on make up. I have to set things up differently than right handers, but I get the job done. I have to go through a different learning process, but I usually figure it out (with a few more curse words).

I thin everyone, regardless of whether you are left or right handed can do any craft. We just have to find the way that works best for us. As long as you get the result you want who cares if you need to stand on your head or hop on one leg to do it (as long as you're ok with that). So left handers, if learning left handed isn't working, try right handed. And if that doesn't work, figure out a mixture of both. Craft without fear!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Not quite what I planned

I had planned tonight, while my husband is watching Naruto on Cartoon Network, to post the finished pictures of my cable knit project. I finished the knitting Thursday night and the blocking was done by Friday night. I wove the ends in and sewed the bottom up.

And I forgot to take a before picture.

I tossed it in the wash to felt it and before I went to bed I shaped it and stuffed it with filling so it would dry in shape. This morning I sewed the snaps in, took some pictures and sent it on it's way to a yet undisclosed location. I'd love to show you those pictures, but alas, I am no photogapher. Foiled by a point and shoot! They were all blurry and unfocused. Hopefully I'll have better luck the next time I take pictures.

I've got lots of projects on the brain lately. I already have some big plans in motion for making things for the next holiday season and for birthday gifts for the girls on my list. The guys on the list, I'm still looking for ideas for. For the christmas season I'm thinking of making bath sets for the girls with a homemade shower cap, bath fizzies, sugar scrub and a wash cloth in the package. I also found great tutorial about making a ruffled shrug from a t-shirt. Now I have to follow through with the plans and not procrastinate.

Comment for a Chance to Win!

It's a bright, shining Saturday morning in the WC, so what better way to spend it than working on my grocery/coupon lists and entering giveaways? I haven't found any so here are some links for y'all. Enter away! Great Valentine's giveaway! Awesome organizational giveaway!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It Looks Like a Big Fish Hook!

I've got two main projects on the needles right now. One is a baby blanket. This is one of several that I need to get working on. I know a lot of pregnant women right now!

And I learned something new this week! My co-worker, knitting buddy, Elizabeth was working on a simple beginner level cable knit scarf. She conviced me it was pretty simple, showed me how to do it and here's my first result! This is going to be a simple pouch with a flap. This opens up so many other opportunites! When my husband saw the cable needle he made the comment that it looked like a huge fish hook. It kind of does!

And yes, in case you're wondering, that is my desk. I've been trying to keep my knitting as cat fur-less as possible so I've been knitting at work only and keeping it separate from any knitting I do at home.