Sunday, December 30, 2007

So I lied

But these are absolutely the last two shirts I will make. (I ran out of shirts.)

Red bird

Elephant t-shirt

The stencil for this guy was much more involved, but I think it was worth the effort. Kyle is going to have to hide my supplies. Only one more today, I promise!

Another new hobby?

I had a hard time finding cute (or any) t-shirts in Wisconsin in December to send to tropical Thailand for T. So I ordered a bunch of cheap ones online and discovered how fun and easy it is to decorate them using freezer paper stencils. (I first spent a night cursing while trying to embellish with embroidery - forget that - this is so much easier!)

Using an on-line Thai-English dictionary, I found a short Thai word meaning "dear, beloved". I drew a heart beneath it and traced it onto the paper side of Freezer Paper. I cut out the design with an x-acto knife, saving the little circles and crescent inside the text.

I ironed the stencil on the t-shirt (shiny-side down). Then I placed the little circles and crescent into place and ironed them down as well.

With fabric paint, I brushed paint gently onto the shirt, trying to dab it down into the fabric.

Because I'm impatient, I used a hair drier to speed the drying (the bottle says wait 24 hours - yeah, right!) and removed the stencil. After if dries a bit more I'll set the paint with an iron.

I just wish I could take it over to him myself, right now!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Snow!

We've had a lot of snow this December, but today we got the ultimate snow-man making snow. Woo hoo! We needed a step-stool to finish off this guy! Note the cheery flag from Thailand in the background celebrating the referral of our son, "T". (You can read about the adoption on our other blog.) The shoveling part wasn't as fun. It's never a good sign when the shovel will stand up on it's own in the driveway.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hat Rainbow

The mystery projects I've been working for a few months were Foliage hats from Knitty. I knit four to give away, and kept one for myself. I liked both the chunky and worsted weight versions. This was the first time I've worked with Malabrigo yarn, and I am smitten. I can't believe how soft it is, and the colors are candy for my eyes. The stitch definition of the beautiful lace pattern is much more visible when the hat is being worn.
Pattern: Foliage
Source: Emilee Mooney, Knitty (Fall 2007)
Modifications: None. Awesome pattern. Written out and in chart form.

Hat #1 (for Mom)
Version: 2
Yarn: Malabrigo kettle dyed pure merino wool, worsted weight
Amount: slightly less than one skein
Color: Terracotta
Needles:US#7, US#5

Hat #2 (for Grandma)
Version: 2
Yarn: Malabrigo kettle dyed pure merino wool, worsted weight
Color: Holly hock
Needles:US#7, US#5

Hat #3 (for Charlene)
Version: 1
Yarn: Malabrigo kettle dyed pure merino wool, chunky
Amount: slightly less than one skein
Color: Christmas green
Needles:US#10.5, US#9

Hat #4 (for Erika)
Version: 1
Yarn: Malabrigo kettle dyed pure merino wool, chunky
Amount: slightly less than one skein
Color: Glazed carrot
Needles:US#10.5, US#9

Hat#5 (for me)
Version: 2
Yarn: Classic Elite Montera (50% llama, 50% wool)
Amount: odds and ends from Erika - unknown
Color: 3805, Sica sica blue (discontinued)
Needles: US#7 and US#6

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Frost

The weather has turned colder and we can't really see out most of our windows. But I've made my favorite treat (pretzels topped with melted Rolos and pecans) and some tea. It's a perfect combination.

New Toy

I hand-sewed a stuffed elephant from a pair of socks this weekend. I used a pattern from an adorable book, Sock and Glove. I don't really know how to sew, so I winged it. I have no idea if he'll stand up to the test of a kid pulling on his appendages, but he was terribly fun to make. I bought a few other colors of socks, too, so I might try a bear or a dog next...

Switching needles

I put down my knitting needles this weekend to try my hand at sewing. But I didn't have a pincushion to hold my pins, so I decided that should be my first project. I found a cute tutorial on-line, and in no time, had a nice little pincushion. I found the fabric and a button I liked from the stashes my mom and grandma gave me when they both cleaned out their sewing stuff.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Stained Glass Candy

We got the candy kitchen up and running today and now the house smells SWEET! Our family started this tradition in 1960, so this is our (if not my) 47th year of making this delicious candy. This is the first year we've made it at our house. Our traditional mix has seven "spicy" flavors - cinnamon, peppermint, anise, butterscotch, wintergreen, spearmint, and clove. This candy has been made for various fund raisers through the decades, sometimes with production up to an insane 2000 pounds in one season! Today we worked for about 3 hours to make 38 pounds.
Grandma cooks the pans of sugar, corn syrup, and water.


She monitors the pans and pulls them off at 300F.

While I stir in the flavoring and coloring....
...Mom prepares the marble slabs by dusting them with powdered sugar.

The steaming hot syrup is then poured onto the marble.
When cool enough, one person slices into strips with a pizza cutter while everyone else cuts into bite sized pieces with scissors (as fast as possible - before it hardens and starts to shatter like glass!).
The marble is scraped clean and excess powdered sugar is shaken from the candy.
After the candy is cool, colors are mixed together by shaking back and forth in a large cloth.All 38 lbs of candy are packaged into bags and divided up among the workers for Christmas presents. Hope we didn't spoil the surprise if you find a pound in your stocking!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bring on the Cavities

Today I had an inexplicable urge to learn how to use my cookie press. I love spritz cookies, but I've never seen them made. I assumed it was easy. Ha! I had Kyle calling his mom while I frantically waved around a monster cookie press that was spewing lots of cookie-batter spaghetti noodles. It took several attempts, batter adjustments, and Kyle holding down the baking sheet before I finally got something that looked like cookies. Some turned out nicely, but I made quite a few that look like the ones in the bottom picture. Maybe it'll get easier with practice, but I definitely need to get Kyle's mom's recipe - hers taste so much better than mine!

Tree Hunt

Kyle and I scored our Best Tree Ever this weekend. We got it at a local tree farm where you can tromp around and pick your own tree, but they apparently don't trust you to wield a saw (or perhaps they're just being nice) and they chop it down for you. Many trees there were a lot more expensive than I remembered from last year (>$60!), but through some strange miracle, my favorite tree was only $15. It's the perfect tree for hanging lots of ornaments, and it smells great. It feels quite strange to be decorated for Christmas so early, but it will take a lot of the pressure off. (Now if only I could find time to finish my knitting!)