Monthly Archives: March 2013

Hoppy Bunny Day!

Apparently Easter at our house will be all about Pinterest… The cookies earlier this week, and now the cutest crochet bunnies, ever. I found this WONDERFUL tutorial on Pinterest last week, and set right to work cranking out some crocheted granny square inspired bunnies for my own little people. Later tonight, there will be a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt with our wonderful neighbors- found on Pinterest last year, tried with some success, and hopefully to be improved upon this year.

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Henry’s bunny is in his favorite color- green- spiced up with some yellow and orange. I realized after it was done that I had inadvertently replicated the colors of a 1970s kitchen.

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I think he likes it.

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Annie’s bunny is in her favorite color- blue- spiced up with my fave, purple. My favorite part is the flower shaped buttons for eyes.

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I know she likes it!

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Filed under Annie, Crochet, Henry, Kids, Pinned it AND made it!

C is for Cadbury Creme Cookies!

Finally, I’ve actually completed a Pinterest based project! I tend to pin lots of delicious sweets. I don’t actually make any of them, because I dislike baking only slightly more than I dislike cooking. I know, sad. But since we’re joining some fabulous friends for a Passover seder this week, it seemed like a good time to actually make a treat rather than buying something.

Last year at this time, I attempted to make a delicious item I had found online- Cadbury Creme Egg stuffed cupcakes. (The trick? Simple enough- just freeze the eggs beforehand.) They turned out to be cloyingly sweet- you know you went too far when even the kids think it’s too much!

So when I stumbled onto this recipe (and here I am using “recipe” in the loosest terms) via Pinterest last week, I was a bit skeptical. Would we go into diabetic comas after a bite?

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Because, as I have mentioned before, I am lazy and don’t like to spend any time in the kitchen, I picked up a tub of ready made chocolate chip cookie dough at the same time I picked up the mini eggs. Then I tricked my awesome husband and children into doing most of the work- which basically consisted of forming balls of dough around the eggs.

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We’re at high altitude here, and we followed the instructions that came with the cookies- 13 mins at 350. We fit 9 cookies on a sheet with no overlap.

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As you can see, even with our perfectly formed balls o’ dough, there was some creme egg leakage. Not much, but some.

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The eggs melted nicely, staying mostly in the centers of the cookies. I am curious as to what would happen if you started with frozen eggs… anyone want to try that and get back to me?

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The verdict? WAY better than last year’s cupcakes. Sweet, but not too sweet. We’ll have to see how the hold up when they’re not straight from the oven. We only just let them cool enough to not burn our tongues… And because, like every project I ever attempt, it took longer than we planned, we sent the kids to bed on a sugar high.  Oops. I’m sure we’ll pay for that later.

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Filed under Food, Kids, Pinned it AND made it!

Equal Loving

Just in case you think that I provide one kid with more handsewn love than the other…

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Annie got her own brand new pillowcase this week!

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I waited until weekend sheet-changing time to grab some photos, as normally Annie’s bed resembles a pile of fabric and stuffed animals more than it does an actual bed. I seized the 15 seconds AFTER the clean sheets and quilt were on, but before the billions of stuffed animals had returned. (Don’t worry- she’s got them all back where she wants them now…)

This pillowcase was even cheaper than Henry’s, as all the fabric was from stash. A few years back, I spent forever making Annie a doggie themed quilt. You can just barely see it in the 2nd photo. I still have quite a bit of dog-themed fabric bits laying around…which probably means I should crank out some more pillowcases for her. If you’re curious about the quilt itself, you can see photos of each block as well as the finished project in this Flickr photoset of mine.

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Filed under Annie, Sewing (not quilting!)

Finally Feathers


Last August, I was lucky enough to take a class with the one and only Anna Maria Horner. You can read all about my lovely day here. We worked on her truly stunning feather block (you can download a free PDF of the pattern- and all her other free goodies as well- here.) But here’s the sad truth. I came home from that class, put my fabric down, and didn’t touch it until, um, last week.

I’ve said it over and over again- last year was my year of no mojo. Not one quilt finished. Ugh. And this gorgeous quilt block, with its many points needing to match up, and potential for nasty bias stretching, couldn’t have come at a worse time for me. The block was gorgeous- and I left a multi-hour class with only half of one done.


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After working on those super simple and fast baby quilt tops last week, I decided I was ready to return to my feathers. Maybe it was my newfound love of spray starch and pins, maybe it was the return of my mojo, but I didn’t find the feathers quite as difficult as before.

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Which is NOT to say I didn’t spend some quality time with my old pal, Mr. Seam Ripper.

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I have now gone from one half of one block to enough feathers to make 4 complete blocks. Victory! Except for the minor detail that 4 blocks isn’t enough for anything but a wallhanging, and I don’t want a wallhanging. So next week, it’s back to cutting and sewing strips, so I can cut out more feather halves… But meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy looking at these.

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PS, I’m linking up with Lee’s WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced…

PPS I’ve jumped on the bloglovin bandwagon, so you can click here to follow me:
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Filed under Quilts

Socks O’ The Irish

Just in time for St. Pat’s Day, I finished up my Ernie socks, from the February 2013 Cookie A Sock Club shipment. The yarn is a stunning deep green cashmere blend from Indigodragonfly. Ernie is made up of what look at first like tiny cables, but are actually very clever twist increases. I’ve never worked this type of increase before, but after the first repeat, I was hooked. The increase creates a really stretchy sock, and they are so comfortable! I love these socks- and I got them done before the April shipment!

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For no reason aside from that the photos made me smile, I thought I’d share our St. Pat’s Day lunch with you. MY mom was craving corned beef and cabbage, and so she treated us all to lunch at our favorite New York style deli… Of course, Henry had chicken fingers, and Annie had chicken noodle matzo ball soup. I came a bit closer to the mark with a corned beef reuben. And then there was the back & white cookie that was as big as Henry’s head…
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Here’s hoping you all had a great, green, day as well!

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Filed under Annie, CookieA, Food, Henry, Kids, Knitting, Socks

WIP Wednesday: a 2fer

Last week I mentioned that I was way way behind on quilts for babies… Off the top of my head, I can think of three little men who entered the world last year, and who have yet to get a quilt from me. Now that I’m oh so slowly reclaiming my quilting mojo, it seems like time to rectify that situation.

Like many of you, I have searched Pinterest for inspiration. Sometimes I have gotten sucked in and spent HOURS searching. Sometimes it pays off. I stumbled onto the Fat Quarter Gang blog, and their many wonderful tutorials. Lap of Luxe by Quilt Dad spoke to me immediately. It’s my favorite kind of pattern- simple, elegant, and lets the fabric do the talking.

I pulled fabric to make a baby quilt from this pattern. I started with some awesome Michael Miller robots that I’ve been hoarding saving for just the right occasion.

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I added some other fun spacey stuff, including rayguns, and then I had to throw in the flames because orange flames make everything go faster! There’s even 3 batiks, because I will never stop loving the intensity of color you get out of those fabrics!

The pattern calls for making HSTs and trimming them back down to size.
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The method was a bit of a waste of fabric, but, it did allow me to get really accurate triangles. That, and my buddy Faultless Spray Starch. And pins.

Aside from the HSTs, the pattern calls for squares. Like I said, simple but elegant.
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So simple. So fun.

And then I realized: the 20 blocks made by the pattern made for a fairly giant baby quilt.IMG_0865

The blocks finish at 13 inches. Setting them 4×5 means a 52″ by 65″ quilt (which I would have known had I paid attention to the pattern!) Big for any baby, even one that is now a toddler. But if I made 4 more blocks, I could make TWO quilt tops, set at 3×4 blocks each! So I did… each quilt got an extra robot block, and an extra blue/green spiral block.

I pieced one top with a sort of pattern to the block layout, and the other just by how much I liked the blocks…
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Can you see the pattern I tried to pull off? And which one do you like better?

Now to find some backing fabric, baste, and quilt them. I think I may also quilt them slightly differently- a perfect opportunity to experiment!

(Linking up with WIP Wednesday 0ver at Lee’s Freshly Pieced)

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Filed under Quilts, WIP Wednesday

How much does it cost to be a supermom?

It turns out, under $10! (Plus about 10 minutes.)

Recently I went to JoAnns to pick up some notions with one of their 50% off coupons, and I stumbled upon this fabulous Marvel fabric. It’s got Avengers, X-Men, and Spidey… Henry has been a huge fan of Captain America for years now, because, and I’m quoting here “he was just a normal guy who got made into a superhero.” No giant fortune, no brilliant mind, just a normal soldier. So I picked up a yard of this stuff, which happily was on sale.

Yesterday I finished up piecing a quilt top (more on that later this week after I manage to take a decent photo of it), and still had a few minutes left in the episode of Battlestar Galactica that I was streaming. So I used those few minutes to whip out a pillowcase for Henry… I have a favorite standby pillowcase pattern that I’ve been using for years, and I’d love to link to it for you, but it was on the website of a store that has since closed and I only have a printout. There’s nothing like a pillowcase for a fun, fast, and super personalized gift!20130311-171055.jpg

Both Henry and his friend Captain Kermit approve of the pillowcase 🙂

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After making this, I realized that it has been quite a few years since Henry has gotten a new quilt. Maybe it’s time? Last week, I stumbled up a fabulous website, Fandom in Stitches, that is chock full of (free!) paper piecing patterns for all sorts of movies, books, and other characters. There’s quite a few Cap related goodies. And, oh, the Hobbit-y goodness!

It’s so rewarding when such a small amount of fabric and effort make someone so happy. Do you have a go-to pattern or project for a quick happy fix?

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Filed under Henry, Sewing (not quilting!)

Sticks and Stitches 2013, or, How the Avs REALLY broke the Blackhawks’ Streak…

Last night was the long awaited 2013 Sticks and Stitches game at the Colorado Avalanche. Whee! I went with some yarn loving colleagues, and when a friend couldn’t use her ticket at the last minute due to a family emergency, I let Annie come along. I told her that as she was taking a knitter’s seat, she had to give knitting another chance. She agreed! We dug some snazzily colored but cheap yarn out of my stash, and I got her started on a scarf…
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By chance, the Sticks and Stitches game was Avs vs Blackhawks. If you’re not a hockey person, you may not know that the Hawks were 21 games into what is considered one of the most amazing winning streaks, ever. The Avs aren’t exactly having a stellar season, nor did they have one last year. They lost to the Hawks in the last seconds of a game earlier this week. It was shaping up to be an uuuugly night for Avs fans. Not to mention, there were an ungodly number of Chicago fans in the arena, and many of them arrived drunk and mean- and only got more so as the evening progressed. I was having some flashbacks to the years when I lived mere blocks from Fenway Park, and would practically have to hide in a bunker when the Yankees came to town…

We made our way to our seats in the reserved Sticks and Stitches section. There was some confusion, as the group had a table full of awesome freebies from Interweave, but they had been made to set up on a different level from the reserved section. Why? Who knows- it was chaos last night.

And then there was the game. It was insane. We ended the first period tied, with some hope for Avs fans.

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And then, the second period. Back to back goals, and then two more, and we were up 5-1. It was so exciting that many of the knitters in our section put the knitting down in order to pay even more attention to the game! I had held off on working on my socks all week so I’d be at a good mindless knitting point for the game, and I didn’t even make it all the way through the final 8 round repeat!

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Annie screamed herself literally hoarse. (It’s a really good thing we’re skipping her acting class today due to weather- her teacher would kill me for sending her in such a state!)

And then… we won. And we didn’t just win, we won 6-2. We didn’t just end the streak, we annihilated it.

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And the only reason I can think of is because knitters and crocheters were representing. What else could it possibly be?

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😉

Regardless, it was a fun night out with friends and Annie and fiber and hockey. And now I’ve got a snowy Saturday ahead of me where I can actually focus on finishing that sock… What are your plans today?

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Filed under Annie, CookieA, Hockey, Knitting, Socks

WIP Wednesday: Sugar Block I & II, Forget Me Not

 

 

Friday brought us March, which, weather-wise here in Denver has already shown both its lion and lamb sides. Saturday: gorgeous, sunny, in the 60s. Monday: icy cold, blowing snow…

The 1st day of March also means a new Sugar Block Club pattern. If you’re not in the club, you’re in for a treat as Amy made this month’s block (Forget Me Not) available for all, for free on her blog! She even posted the monthly recipe 🙂

On Saturday afternoon, I was planning to go to Fancy Tiger for the monthly Sugar Block sewing session, but, it was cancelled at the last minute. I was all ready for an afternoon of sewing, so I hid in my sewing room and cranked out not one but TWO Forget Me Not blocks!

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This block was by far the simplest so far. It went together very very easily. As always, I had a horrible time picking out fabric. In the end, I’m a bit unhappy with this one- the outer dark teal is actually a Kaffe Aboriginal Dot, but it reads solid from a distance of more than a foot. Boo.

Even though this block was simpler, I still busted out what are rapidly becoming my 3 best friends:

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Heavy spray starch, a super hot iron, and lots and lots of pins. Lots of em.

I ended up with this.

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See what I mean about that outer fabric? I don’t dislike it enough to piece another block, so it’s staying.

This one was so nice and easy, I did the second one, for my mom’s super secret xmas quilt (shhhh!) right away. I am much happier with how the fabrics turned out in this one, even of they don’t photograph as well as I’d like. The inner squares are actually a gorgeous deep eggplant color, but they look brown.

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This is my favorite color combo in the second quilt so far. I do wish I had thought to cut that center square on a diagonal, but it works. And the Kaffe shot cottons and wovens tend to be a looser weave, so even with spray starch, it might have been rough to work with that much bias.

Now that I have my monthly blocks done, before even a week of the month is up, I can move on to another project. There’s quite a few babies that I neglected last year during my year of no mojo… Time to get a-sewin’ for them all.

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Filed under Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, WIP Wednesday

Nom Nom Nom

It’s currently Restaurant Week in the Mile High City, which means tons of fabulous venues offer amazing meals for $52.80 per couple. Get it? (The clue is in the “mile high” part…)

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A few years back, they decided the make restaurant week last for 14 days, which means even more time to chow down. Yum! What this means is that we’ve been eating like kings around here… My mom watched the little monsters (literally- they watched Hotel Transylvania!) so Rich and I could have a date night at one of our favorite restaurants in the entire world.

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Then, because the kids had Friday off from school, all four of us had lunch at another one of our faves, which is conveniently located very close to my office.

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Lobster rolls, on REAL New England rolls, and butterscotch pudding made with real scotch. Heaven. If only I hadn’t had to go straight back to work, I could have had an adult beverage. Ah, well.

Then, because Saturday’s Sugar Block Club sewing session at Fancy Tiger was cancelled at the last minute (boo!), we grabbed my mom and tried out another locale. We’d never been there before, and thank goodness we went early because it turned out the part on their website that said “reservations are welcome for large parties” was totally not true…They took reservations for all parties, and were shocked we didn’t have one. Oops.

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We got one of the last tables before the entire joint filled up. Our service was painfully slow- people who ordered well after us were done before us. But, it was also yummy and another ridiculously good deal.

And now, even with those great deals, the budget is strained. Time for some creative and cheap at home meals. I am a lousy cook, but if you have any super easy, especially crock pot, recipes, would you share? (Normally poor Rich does basically ALL the cooking, and I’m trying to get a bit better about it…)

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