Thursday, January 26, 2012

Love me some orange!

Two things making me smile today:

First, a big, fat squishy orange cowl I just finished. Bulky yarn plus big needles made this a super-fast knit. I used Brown Sheep Burly spun, which is a loft single ply, so it'll likely pill up like crazy, but who cares. There's enough yarn left for me to knit a second cowl. It's a little less neon in real life. :)
Second, I'm really happy with my recent hair experiment (yes, she's going to talk about her hair again!). I've given up shampoo, which kinda creeps out my hubby, but there's no smell/residue so we're both happy. It's been about 2 weeks since I've gone over to the Curly Girl method, and my curls seem much healthier and less frizzy. And that makes me smile!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Do you doodle? I do. I love to draw, but long gone are the days when I spent over 40 hrs working on an 8x8" drawing! When I saw the art blog of Alisa Burke I felt like I found a kindred spirit! Her doodles and drawings are beautiful.

I was inspired to try my own version of her valentine hearts to loosen up and get back into my own art.

I doodled in bits of time snatched between math lessons, grammar explanations, and cooking for our meals. All of these were done standing up at our counter, hunched over (I need to raise my countertops!). No forethought, sketching, or planning here - I just dove right in with my Sharpie! There's something wonderful about the commitment a black marker forces you to make, and the need for flexibility to change course because of a wiggly line or misplaced dot.

Trying to squeeze in time for any kind of art is a challenge, but I hope to do more of it over the next month - and maybe even sign up for Alisa's sketchbook 2 class.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

First Knitting FO in 2012

Finished my first knitting project of 2012! Actually, these were started around Christmas, so not completely done this year, but who's counting? I bought this yarn knowing it'd be great in this zig zag pattern, but they're not the most comfortable socks. That's because the fabric is on the bias and gives no stretch. I still like them a lot - they put me in the mood for spring!

size US 1 circular needle
Pattern: Jaywalkers (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Opal Feelings, by Zwerger Garn (discontinued color 1702)
used 337 yd, or 72.5 g of yarn

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Polar Bear Love

Say hello to "Rusko," the newest member of our family.

Isn't it strange how some kids develop such a strong affection toward a certain type of animal? My youngest son loves penguins. In fact, he told me today he wants to grow up to be a "penguin petter" - isn't that too cute? On the other end of the earth's axis, my oldest boy loves polar bears! He even created an imaginary polar bear that has inspired hours of creative story telling, not to mention polar bear projects and crafts. It's catching - last year I knit this hat because I was bit by the polar bug.

Today was my polar bear boy's birthday. What else could I make but a cake to suit? This was a really easy cake to assemble, and I forgot to take pics of the process, but I think you can easily figure it out.

The cake is one box of standard yellow cake mix, but I divided the batter between an 8" round pan and four cupcakes. I made sure to really fill up two of the cupcakes so they'd get "muffin tops" - I cut those off to make the ears, cutting down one side to fit the curve of the head. The muzzle is the upside down cupcake bottom from one of those muffin tops. That left a couple cupcakes for us to snack on while we made the frosting. Hee hee!

The frosting is made from scratch, not my first choice (I'm all about quick and get-it-done birthday cakes). But I'm soooo glad I took the time to make this because it's delicious! This is marshmallow frosting - oh, yes, 16 big fat marshmallows are melted into all kind of sugary goodness. It's perfect for this cake because the resulting frosting is thick and sticky - great for sculpting and smoothing out the bear's face. The recipe is from an old church cookbook:

Marshmallow Frosting
2 egg white
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1/4 lb marshmallows (16 large or 160 small)

Put egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, corn syrup, and water in top of double boiler. Place over boiling water; beat until stiff peaks form. Remove from heat and add marshmallows. Beat until thick enough to spread.

After our bear was frosted, I buzzed some coconut in the blender to make it finer, then sprinkled that over the frosting to make the fur. I sculpted a couple of eyebrows/eye indentations to add to the realism. Hey, that fine art degree wasn't for nothing! Milk Dud eyes and a chocolate-covered Oreo nose completed his face. Voila!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

The New Year is fast approaching...just a few minutes left! What to do while waiting? Finish a project.....a dear to my heart project that began in 2008.

We went away for a week over Christmas in 2008 and returned to find our dining room flooded. Ugh. Perhaps you remember seeing this from my blog long ago?

The wood ceiling was falling down, the dining table and chairs were ruined, I sucked 5 gallons of water out of the carpet.....for the next six months we worked repairing, replacing, refinishing. It's all beautiful now, but one thing never got fixed.

My Bible.

It was one of two items on the table while we were gone (forgot to get packed at the last minute). I had just bought a cute bible cover for it made from a vintage quilt. Of course, the fabric and pages had absorbed as much water as they could hold. I removed the cover, wrung it out, then squeezed all the water out of my bible...but it was ruined. Perhaps you have a bible that you've been reading from for years, full of notes, underlining, drawings even? I had this one for over 10 years....I could tell you what side of the page and where in the column familiar verses were. Ugh! What a loss! I searched for another one just like it, but no luck. I got it on a trip to Israel, so even more memories were wrapped up in it.

But then I remembered that my husband took a similar trip to Israel with the same leader....and sure enough! On his shelf of Bibles was the same exact edition! Minus all my notations, of course.

I've been using this new one for the past few years, but my antique quilt cover laid in pieces. A gentle hand washing and a visit with Mr. SeamRipper and Mrs. FabricStash today were just what it needed. Of course, I modified the original design a bit, adding in some repro feedsack fabrics, a couple pockets, and a ric-rac bookmark. A special vintage button tops it all off.

I'm so excited to have this last bit of that 2008 drama behind me! Hooray for new beginnings! I can't wait to start the new year with my "new" bible!

Many blessings to you in the New Year!