Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pardon the mess

I'm working on a new theme and, as luck would have it, my photoshop has decided to stop working. In the interim, here is a preview of a new project I'm working on:

Now, if only I could get technology to work as well as my speedball carving set...

Made: Fingerless Gloves

I just finished my second pair of Paula McKeever's Cafe au Lait Mitts

May I completely recommend this pattern?  My first set knit up very quickly, the pattern is interesting and holds your attention, they're soft and stretchy and lovely with slightly variegated yarn.

Love this pattern... now, maybe I'll actually make a pair for myself...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ninja Cake! Ninjas! Ninja Party!

I can't believe it took me so long to write this post.
My son wanted a Ninja party for his 5th birthday. May I just say, finding anything (mass produced) which is ninja related is nearly impossible (which is gloriously appropriate) and i didn't want to do a Lego Ninja party (too expensive, too... commercial). I really liked the idea of generic Ninjas.

The running joke around our house was:
The husband: "How do you decorate for a ninja party?"
Me: "How?"
The husband: "Leave dead bodies everywhere."

So... since it was a 5 year-old's birthday party I decided to forgo the dead bodies and, instead, focus on just 2 items:

The Ninja cake:
Super easy- round cake pan with a Ninja face. I've handmade/decorated all my kid's birthday cakes so far; I'm going to see if I can make it to their 10th birthdays...

If I were talented, I would have made: this cake.

Ninja peg dolls:
These were fun. Many of the kids played with the ninjas while the food was being put out; they were entertaining enough to hold their attention.

Misc / Not handmade:
The party bags were red Chinese take out containers. Plates, napkins, etc. were red and black (as were the balloons).

I've been trying to de-stress my parties. Jonah was more than happy with the decorative minimalist approach and everyone had a good time.

Other items I came up with but didn't have the time to do:
Game- pin the star on the Ninja. Take a silhouetted figure of a ninja, put it on a wall. Blindfold the kid, put a silver paper star in their hand, one side sticky. Who ever gets the star closest to the Ninja's head wins.

Ninja masks/ party favors: Take strips of black fabric (long enough to tie around the head). Cut out eye-holes.

Other Ninja items I found but didn't buy, make, or use:

Etsy: Ninja party bags
Etsy: Ninja stamps
Ravelry: Crochet ninjas (party favors)
Etsy: Ninja oragami (stars)
Etsy: Ninja cupcake toppers
Stuff from this party

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Gluten Free: Apple and Egg Breakfast Pie

I find that most modern recipes cannot be easily modified to remove the wheat flour/replace it with a gluten free alternative (most baked goods as an example). However, every once in a great while, I come across a really, really old recipe which actually tastes better with a wheat flour replacement.

In order to make this recipe gluten free I replaced 1/2 cup of flour with 1/4 cup oatmeal and 1/4 cup white rice flour. The finished "pie" has a very mild flavor and texture; it's not overly rich/heavy like a quiche and it's not bready or super sweet like a pancake (as it has no sugar added except what you chose to dust on top; although I suppose you could add sugar to the batter if you wanted to sweeten it up). You could also leave out the oatmeal and replace the wheat flour with rice flour 1:1.

(Gluten Free) Apple and Egg Breakfast Pie
1/4 tbl butter
1 medium apple (core removed, cut into thin slices)
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Gluten Free oatmeal (uncooked)
1/4 cup white rice flour

1/4 tea nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tea cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tea salt (optional)
1/4 cup powdered sugar (for dusting)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Grease a cast iron skillet with the 1/4 tablespoon of butter, make sure to butter the sides. Arrange the apple slices on the bottom of the skillet (in desired pattern). Set aside.

3.  Combine eggs, milk, oatmeal, rice flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until batter is well blended (I just use a whisk and hand mix).
4. Place skillet on stove (medium/high heat) for 2 minutes until the bottom of the skillet is just hot.
5. Pour batter over apples and place in the oven; cook for 20-22 minutes.
6. Remove pie, cut, dust with powdered sugar (if desired) and eat!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Journal Cover / Note Holder

I like writing in my journal when I am out and about. I'm that crazy person who, as you look up from texting on your cell phone while in traffic and notice the light is green, is writing a thank you note or jotting down notes in a book (sometimes I've also been known to knit while at traffic lights but that detail isn't pertinent to this post... don't judge me!)

My beta attempt: I used left over fabric scraps from a bag, fusible fleece, canvas tape, and elastic for the pen holders. The pen holders are not particularly ideal so I know they'll have to be redesigned. I really love the canvas tape as the closure, though. Also, there was no hard surface so I have nothing to write on for thank you notes.

Things I'll change before making more: I'll add a pocket for the pens or colored pencils (with separators and a flap to keep them in place) instead of the elastic, I'll add another pocket for random items, and a hard surface (like chipboard I've been hoarding from something prepackaged) which attaches with velcro and can be replaced/changed as needed (or removed).