WIP Wednesday – can you say startitis?

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I may have mentioned before that I have a terrible condition called “startitis”. It seems I am always starting a project and never finishing it. It was embarrassing enough to showcase all of my WIPs and UFOs earlier and now here I have a few more to add.

I’ve been working on and off between these projects for a couple of weeks. I’ve also been adding to my toy crochet food collection but haven’t been taking any pictures. They all need ends weaved in, finishing touches, etc.

This is another Darleen Hopkins Picture Perfect Afghan. I made a few more alterations of course. Because this is going to be a larger afghan I did two rounds each of the contrasting colors. The space between the contrasting colors I increased to 20 rounds.

Seahawks colors lapghan

This is the first one I did as a test. When we were asked to test the pattern she only wanted a bit of it done to double check the pattern repeats. But I’ve been slowly weaving in ends here and there and I’m bound and determined to check one thing off of my WIP list. My goal is to finish it by this Friday so I can say I finished something finally. You can see how different it looks with the changes I made on the Seahawks colored one.

picture perfect afghanI also started two shawls. Why? Because I felt like it. It’s not because I wear them all the time and needed more. I only have one and my dog has taken possession of that one. I mainly use it during the winter while crocheting. It gets a bit chilly and you just can’t crochet and wrap up in a big comfy afghan now can you?

The top one is called Top Down Shawl from Red Heart. I had some of this pretty blue and white Serenity Garden yarn that I had left from a frogged project and thought it would look pretty. It should work nicely because the shawl won’t be big and bulky.

top down shawl

This one has been in my Ravelry queue forever and is called the Elise Shawl. I actually wanted to make a lace weight shawl that I could use as a scarf but I saw someone had used the Serenity Garden for their shawl and liked the look of it. I had frogged another one of my projects that I wasn’t happy with and thought I would use it for this shawl.

elise shawlLast but not least the progress on my Minion blanket. I’ve been pretty much hands off for a long time, it’s been too hot to have this heavy thing lying across my lap. But now that it’s cooling down a smidge I’m starting up on it again. One question I have is how in the world do people keep the ends only on one side of the afghan? I have numerous ends to weave in on both sides. Unless they are cutting the yarn each row?

minion blanket

 

 

Another Manic Monday

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Ugh, Monday, how I hate them. Especially this week. I thought last week was bad trying to play catch up from my vacation but this week is going to prove to be just as bad.

I don’t have a properly trained fill-in so I had piles and piles of unfinished or half-finished work greeting me my first day back to work. Let me state for the record that it is not my fill-in’s fault whatsoever. To be fair I left her an equally huge pile of unfinished work for her return from vacation. She took two weeks off prior to my one week. I had to fill in for her and do all of my work. She had to fill in for me and catch up on all her work. Trust me, it wasn’t pretty.

Here’s hoping that I can catch up this week and it won’t be nearly as bad as I’m anticipating.

 

Camping and Family

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cade 3

Whew! This last week was a busy one. My daughter, son-in-law and grandson came for a visit from South Dakota. I haven’t seen them in two years! Two years! How can a grandma let two years go by without seeing her only grandchild? Circumstances have prevented me from visiting, but I think things will be getting better now and am hoping I can visit them in December in time for his 4th birthday.

We had such a great time visiting with family but I think the highlight was camping. We took the ferry over to Ft. Flagler from Coupeville for my grandson’s first ferry ride. He absolutely loved it.

My first ferry ride grandma

My first ferry ride grandma

We had a fantastic campsite at the top of the bluff, nice and big and sunny. We brought too much with us of course, but this is Washington and you never know what the weather is going to be like. We looked like a little village.

the village

There is a beautiful view of the sunset just a bit down from the campsite. Nothing like a sunset over water.

sunset at ft flagler

Then there was the first trip down to the ocean. My little man just loved playing in the water and it was difficult to get him away. The weather was absolutely perfect the whole time we were there and I think everyone had a good time.

cade 6 another visit to the beach We picked up some pretty shells and rocks and even found a nice sand dollar.

sand dollar pretty purple shellThey just left this morning and I’m already missing them. December can’t get here fast enough.

Citrus Inspired Wedding Cake, Cupcakes and a Geeky Groom’s Cake

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Cake Table

Cake Table

I may have mentioned that I have been a busy little beaver working on some cakes for a friend’s wedding. I don’t think I was working hard enough. A lot of stuff I like saving for the day before and day of so it’s more fresh. But a few of the items definitely needed more time and thought put into it. Now after the fact I can see so many little things that I could have done to improve the cakes. Guess it’s just another one of those lessons learned moments and move on from here. The bride and groom loved them no matter what I thought and I guess that is the most important thing isn’t it?

The first and most odd thing I had to work on was the groom’s cake. This was going to be a surprise for him. He knew he was getting a groom’s cake but he didn’t know that my friend requested a specific scene from one of his favorite games. We had the hardest time finding pictures anywhere of this scene. There bits and pieces here and there and because I’m totally unfamiliar with the game I had no idea where to start.

So I started with the castle. The whole premise of the scene is set in an opera house, so I figured I’d go with a castle backdrop like you would see on stage at a play with a rice krispie treat turret for the “bride”. I used a 50/50 mixture of gum paste and fondant hoping it would hold up better. Pastillage probably would have been more sturdy but I’m not very experienced with it.

The beginning stages of the castle

The beginning stages of the castle

Next step was to paint the castle. I used paste food coloring and some vodka which helps the food coloring dry better without making everything sticky. It didn’t turn out quite how I envisioned it, but then I started thinking that the game graphics are very simplistic. Think early Mario brothers and the very pixelated characters and you’ll understand why wasn’t too concerned with the simplicity of the castle.

Painted castle

Painted castle

The groom had one request during this entire wedding and it was a last minute one. He wanted salted caramel filling for the wedding cake. The bride wasn’t too keen on that idea because she already said simple and white. I suggested a groom’s cake. This way it is what he wants and he can pick a specific theme. That is how I ended up making this cake. So I made my standard chocolate cake. For the first time ever I used parchment paper in the bottom of the pan. It’s supposed to be perfect right? Nope, one of the cakes kind of crumbled and broke apart around the edges. I’ve never, ever had a problem with just using shortening and flour in the pan. Why I decided I needed to try parchment paper I can’t tell you. But I thought I could still work with it.

Then there was the salted caramel. Can I tell you that I’ve never tried making it before, but figured it can’t be that hard. It’s not, but it is touchy and waiting until the night before to make it if you’ve never made it before is a really stupid idea! But it got made! I decided that a caramel frosting would go really well with the caramel filling and used one I’ve used before on my zucchini cupcakes. So check out this disaster in the making.

Disaster in the making. That caramel frosting is not going to hold the caramel filling.

Disaster in the making. That caramel frosting is not going to hold the caramel filling.

There is no way that frosting dam is going to hold in that caramel. I originally put a light layer of frosting on the cake and then added the caramel sauce, but obviously I was a bit too liberal in my use. Add in the crumbly cake that I plopped on top of this and let me just tell you it wasn’t a pretty sight. I ended up tossing the whole thing I was so upset. So it’s 9 am the morning of the wedding and I am starting to bake all new chocolate cakes and have to make new caramel frosting because I didn’t have enough. Talk about stressful. I’m telling you this because no matter how pretty cakes look there is always something going wrong. When I started this blog I wanted to make sure that the good, the bad and the ugly were posted, not just the good stuff. What fun is there in that?

This time I just put the frosting dam in place and then spread a light layer of the caramel filling directly on the cake and it worked perfectly, no seepage. I was concerned that the filling would soak into the cake and they wouldn’t be able to taste it. After sitting for many hours it was perfect. The groom loved it and was happy he got his one wish of salted caramel.

But, this put me at least two hours behind and this is where I should have spent time a few days ago making the figures for the cake. I spent one hour prior to leaving the house trying to get the figures done. I thought they looked awful. Even trying to keep in mind that the characters are very simplistic didn’t help. But I had no choice and at least it was obvious to those in the know who the characters were.

The end result was all the bride was hoping for, because everyone who ever played the game knew immediately what the scene was and that’s all she wanted. The groom thought it was hilarious and loved it too.

Do you know what this is from?

Do you know what this is from?

The cupcakes were easy thank goodness. Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with a buttercream frosting. Another thing I should have done a few days ago were the chocolate flowers, well actually it’s precolored candy melts which really helped, but hey I think it all starts out like white chocolate right? Here I am about two hours before I want to have the cakes at the wedding and I’m just starting to make the flowers. Thank goodness they were easy and dried quickly!

cupcakes

The wedding cake was so much easier than the groom’s cake. I did make the ribbon roses a few days early. Thank goodness I didn’t wait until the last minute for those. I used this tutorial for the roses. I need more practice because I would have like to have more irregular looking roses instead of simple spirals.

Ribbon roses

Ribbon roses

ribbon roses and leaves

The cake was a basic vanilla cake with buttercream frosting and my own strawberry rhubarb jam for filling. The bride wanted a simple, plain white cake but I convinced her she needed a bit of color so I told her about the flowers and she liked that idea. It really did make a simple but pretty cake.

wedding cake

 

In the end it was a very successful bunch of cakes. Everyone loved them and that’s all that matters.

FO Friday – Finally finished something!

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I have finally finished a crochet project! I don’t know if I can even tell you how long it’s been since I last finished a project.

gryffindor picture perfect baby blanket3

This one is one of the WIPs I posted last week. The Gryffindor house color baby blanket. The pattern is from Darleen Hopkins and is called Picture Perfect Baby Blanket. This is the same pattern I used for my Seahawks Inspired baby blanket. This was given to a friend of my daughter for their first baby. They are due in September and want to be surprised by the sex of the baby. They are huge Harry Potter geeks and decided to decorate the nursery in Gryffindor colors. They loved the blanket and told my daughter it’s perfect in the nursery.

This is how it originally started to look.

The pattern calls for one row of a contrasting color, one row of another contrasting color and then one row of the first contrasting color.

The pattern calls for one row of a contrasting color, one row of another contrasting color and then one row of the first contrasting color.

I really wanted the gold to show up more so I ripped this back to the first row of gold and started again. This time I did two rounds of gold, one round of white, and then two more rounds of gold.

I also increased the main color section between the striped rounds to 12 rounds instead of the 8 the pattern calls for. I think it really makes the gold stripes really stand out now.

gryffindor picture perfect baby blanket

I used Bernat Satin in bordeaux, white and golden rod with an I (5 mm) hook. I really love this pattern. It’s easy and yet makes an impressive looking blanket. You can modify it to suit any color combination. If you use the right sized hook it makes a nice loose weave that makes a soft, flexible blanket for baby.

Well that’s one down and about 20 left to go right?

CSA Box – August 14, 2014

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Didn’t get a chance to post my lovely box yesterday. At least I took some pictures before putting it all away. I’m busy, busy, busy trying to get a wedding cake, groom’s cake and cupcakes done before tomorrow. Wait till you see the cake! Something new and different for me. Hope they like it.

Anyway here’s the box of goodies, check out all of the veggies!

celery, green onions, spicy greens, carrots, corn, ground beef patties, eggs, fresh rolls,  overnight waffle mix (which was a bonus this week), campanelle pasta, gouda cheese, lentils, beefsteak tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, basil

celery, green onions, spicy greens, carrots, corn, ground beef patties, eggs, fresh rolls, overnight waffle mix (which was a bonus this week), campanelle pasta, gouda cheese, lentils, beefsteak tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, basil

How about a closer look at everything?

veggies

overnight waffle mix etc

Suggested recipes this week:

Cheeseburgers with Tomato Cucumber Salad
Campanelle with Corn, Scallions and Spicy Greens
Sauteed Lentil Pilaf with Fried Eggs

Can’t wait to give everything a try!

CSA Box – August 7, 2014

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This week’s box was chock full of goodies! Check out all the fresh produce.

green onions, basil cabbage, beets, carrots, bok choy, fresh penne pasta, eggs, ground pork, pie crust dough, yukon gold potatoes, cherry tomatoes, walla walla onions, garlic, green beans, and a special addition of a chocolate bar

green onions, basil, cabbage, beets, carrots, bok choy, fresh penne pasta, eggs, ground pork, pie crust dough, yukon gold potatoes, cherry tomatoes, walla walla onions, garlic, green beans, and a special addition of a chocolate bar

Recipes this week include:

Penne with Quick Garlicky Tomato Sauce
Deconstructed Pot Sticker Stir Fry
Sweet Onion Galette with Summer Crunch Salad
Green Bean and Pesto Potato Salad with Hardboiled Eggs

 

WIP Wednesday – The rest of my UFOs

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So last week I wrote about my embarrassing little secret stash of unfinished objects (UFOs) and different works in progress (WIPs). So when is something considered an UFO and no longer a WIP? I’ve always wondered. Anyway….here are the other things that I dug up. Seriously, this girl has a problem committing doesn’t she?

My current WIP. Another Picture Perfect baby blanket in Gryffindor school colors. Well it's supposed to be at least. I do need to finish this one by the end of the week.

My current WIP. Another Picture Perfect baby blanket in Gryffindor school colors. Well it’s supposed to be at least. I do need to finish this one by the end of the week.

More play food. This is for my niece who's birthday is this month. I think I need to get moving if I want to give it to her for her birthday.

More play food. This is for my niece who’s birthday is this month. I think I need to get moving if I want to give it to her for her birthday.

A very old baby blanket called a Peek-a-Boo Blanket I believe. I'm pretty sure I got the pattern off of the yarn label of some Lion brand baby yarn. I just need to finish two sides of the edging but I ran out of yarn. Now the search through my stash to see if I can find something comparable.

A very old baby blanket called a Peek-a-Boo Blanket I believe. I’m pretty sure I got the pattern off of the yarn label of some Lion brand baby yarn. I just need to finish two sides of the edging but I ran out of yarn. Now the search through my stash to see if I can find something comparable.

Peek-a-Boo baby blanket

Peek-a-Boo baby blanket

This one is at least a little more recent. I think last fall I started this CAL for an autumn wreath. I just need to fill it and sew it closed and then crochet and add little accessories.

This one is at least a little more recent. I think last fall I started this CAL for an autumn wreath. I just need to fill it and sew it closed and then crochet and add little accessories.

Apple placemats to match the curtains in my kitchen. These are very old as well. I have six done and all they need are ends sewn in...seeing a pattern here? I hate sewing in ends.

Apple placemats to match the curtains in my kitchen. These are very old as well. I have six done and all they need are ends sewn in…seeing a pattern here? I hate sewing in ends.

This one isn't too old either. I've been fascinated by quilt look crochet afghans and thought I'd start out with this smaller one. Yeah, one inch grannies are no fun.

This one isn’t too old either. I’ve been fascinated by quilt look crochet afghans and thought I’d start out with this smaller one. Yeah, one inch grannies are no fun.

Who knows when I started this one. Probably one time when I had no projects in mind and had some stash yarn to use up. This is old Lion brand baby yarn with the little silver thread running through it.

Who knows when I started this one. Probably one time when I had no projects in mind and had some stash yarn to use up. This is old Lion brand baby yarn with the little silver thread running through it. Oh and look there’s one of my hooks.

Another more recent project. I was looking to make some sort of chair cushion and liked this pattern.

Another more recent project. I was looking to make some sort of chair cushion and liked this 12 inch afghan square by Julie Yeager.

So there we have the rest of my UFOs and WIPs. Wonder if I can get any of them done for Finished Object Friday.

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