Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Quest for Green

Every year around this time I get the itch to start gardening again... and it's always a painfully long wait til Spring! This year is extra tough because I'm looking out my kitchen window at a brand new garden that's begging to be dug in. So, while I wait and plan, I'm on a quest for a little green along the way. For some reason each little bit makes me happy!

In case you're wondering, the photo of brown stickie-things is actually a box of iris rhizomes that my mom rescued for me from her garden Connecticut. They were split from ones in my old garden and I can't wait to plant them!!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Voice of Color

Ok, it's midnight and I should be sleeping but had to share a little something fun before I snooze... while I was trying to find the link to my new favorite app (which I'm now saving to share later), I stumbled upon this color sense game. It's part of Pittsburgh Paints "Voice of Color" campaign. I've presented many branding tests to clients over the years and I'm a sucker for a well thought out design quiz. They really tackled the emotional side of color very well. Go take the test - it'll make you think. I'm a "Pop Art". Means I like vibrant, modern, innovative color combinations. Little do they know!! Oh and I need a "creative office with dynamic color". Umm, yes please!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crafty Kids - Glitter Suncatcher!

There are few words that strike more fear in a mom's heart than "glitter glue". It looks so innocent and sparkly, but it has a way of sticking to every surface other than paper! Well, this year Santa generously brought MG a mega 16 pack of glittery glueiness. I figured there must be a fun project where she could squeeze out all the glue she likes with less chance of an "accident". So here it is - the upcycled glitter suncatcher!

• A clear lid (we used one from Pringles)
• Glitter glue
• A piece of ribbon or yarn
• Tape or a glue gun
• A suction cup (nice but not necessary)

I covered the table with paper towel and let MG squeeze all the glue she liked into the lid. She, of course, wanted it to be "mermaid colors". You could encourage your little one to make "stained glass", a picture of themselves or they could make a bunch of solid color lids to create a rainbow. Then let the glue dry overnight. Once dry, glue or tape a ribbon loop to the back of the lid. It's now ready to hang in the window using the suction cup. If you don't have one, just tape it up. And there you have it, glitter glue success! Very simple, lots of sparkle and they look really pretty when they're hung up. Plus MG was beyond happy. Yay!!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Number 22 Wristlets Pattern!

As promised, here's a little bit of what happened on snow day two... Aside from watching the crazy kayakers go down our road at mach speed, I also had a moment to whip up a quick knitting pattern. It's VERY easy and super fast for those of you who are looking for a quick fix or a way to use up one skein of yarn that you've been saving. Plus it's the ultimate alternative to the dreaded scarf as a beginner project. So, introducing the Number 22 Wristlets - ta da!! They're inspired by this slouch hat that I found on Ravelry.

• Size 11 needles
• Super Bulky yarn (1 skein)

Cast on 22 stitches. Knit 22 rows garter stitch. Cast off. Stitch together the cast on and cast off rows, leaving a hole for your thumb. Done!

For those of you in the Chattanooga area, please come hang at Craft Social Workshop on Jan 25th at 7:30pm. I'm starting a knitting series featuring the hat and wristlets. All welcome, more details here.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Snow Week - Part Uno!

I love snow! Seriously, it gives me a totally valid excuse to stay home in my pj's with tons of time to make things. What's not to love?!

So here's Snow Week Part 1 ... how we spent the first day of four stuck at home:
1. Building the ultimate couch fort
2. Playing find Briar in the deep snow
3. Demolishing the fort by playing super hero
4. Baking amazing beer bread, yum!
5. Designing a new tutorial... those of you with Mac Airs are going to be psyched!
6. Lots of coffee consumption
7. Making snow angels
8. Building a new fort to rival the first

More to come from days 2 through 4 over the weekend. Including a brand new sewing tutorial, a fun kid's craft and a link to my favorite app of the moment (if you're a designer or color nerd, you're going to LOVE it!).

Hope you're all staying cozy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sugar Plum Mermaid Princess Cake

My little girl is 4! I can't believe it, really and truly! Now that she's a bit older, the whole birthday right before Christmas deal is getting much tougher. It doesn't matter what you do, the two seem to muddle together a bit. But I was determined to give her a special moment of her own this year...

Anyway, here's what happens when you ask a four year old what the ultimate birthday cake would be (keep in mind she's obsessed with the Little Mermaid and had just seen the Nutcracker for the first time). "Momma, I'd really love a Sugar Plum Mermaid Princess cake". Ok now what, especially since I've never made one of those cakes with a barbie stuck in it?

So, here's how to make a cheap version of a barbie princess cake... I baked up two 9 inch layer cakes (berry/vanilla swirl). The third layer was a little experiment. Instead of buying a cake pan that I'd use once, I figured out a cheap way to fake it. I used a 6" pyrex bowl, sprayed the inside with Bakers Joy, then placed a tall glass (also greased) in the middle of the bowl. Here's the hot tip - I poured a bunch of dried lentils in the glass to keep it from shifting. Then I poured the batter in the "o" space and baked it until a skewer came out clean. After it had cooled, I flipped the "dress" part of the cake onto a small plate (leaving the glass in place, so that it didn't cave in). I wrapped all the layers in press & seal and let them cool in the fridge for a couple hours.

Now comes the fun part! I stacked the lower 2 layers together with a filling. Then I placed the "skirt" on top and crumb-coated all three layers. There was no need to secure them because the frosting acted like glue. After decorating all the layers I stuck the doll in the hole on top, being sure to push her feet into the middle layer. Then I used mini marshmallows to pad around her. Ta-da princess cake extravaganza! And when we cut the cake the marshmallow middle was a fun surprise for the kids.

I was pretty psyched cause I'm not a fancy decorated cake expert by any means and it still looked like a real-deal cake. AKA, all of you guys can definitely do this! And most importantly, MG was thrilled. Birthday specialness achieved!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Happy!

Happy Christmas & happy new year!! Thought I'd share a couple merry pics and my new favorite felted slipper pattern. If you're a beginner looking for something more exciting than a scarf to knit or experienced looking for the ultimate quick gift, the Duffers pattern is for you! Plus I think they're pretty cool cause the toe looks a lot like Keen shoes (a Chattanooga Favorite). Thanks SO much to Mindie at "Knitting if not Eccentric" for helping me give some great gifts this year!!

FYI - I used a size 11 needle and doubled Patons Classic Wool, worsted weight, which felts really well with a load of jeans in the washer. I also painted zigzags on the bottom of each slipper with puffy paint to make them skid-proof. The possibilities are endless, have fun!