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1  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Hooded Wolf Cowl on: February 14, 2015 02:03:39 PM
I made this for one of my younger sisters for her birthday.  She sent me a picture of the pattern a few months ago, but she doesn't know I made it for her.  I'm pretty sure she'll be happy with it.  Smiley  It's on its way to her right now (she lives in upstate New York, and I'm in Texas), and I can't wait to see how she looks in it!

The pattern is Wren Wolf Cowl found on Ravelry, and the yarn is Bernat Softee Chunkee.

The pattern calls for a seam along the top of the hood, but I opted for kitchner stitch instead.

The ears don't really stand up, but I'm okay with it.

View with the top down =)

Thanks for looking!
2  COOKING / Dessert / Romantic Rosette Cake for Valentine's Day on: February 14, 2015 01:37:30 PM
Here's a simple cake I made for my guy and me for Valentine's day.  It's three layers of red velvet, filled and frosted with cream cheese icing.  Pink, of course.  Wink

This was my first time piping with cream cheese frosting, and the only problem I encountered while working with it was that it tasted so damn good I "sampled" way too much of it, haha.  Embarrassed  I love that this cake was low stress and easy to do.  And I can't wait to dig into it tonight!  Grin

Picture time!

Thanks for looking, and happy Valentine's day!
3  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Teal Harvest Cardigan on: January 20, 2015 05:40:15 PM
My Harvest cardigan is finally complete!  I actually finished knitting it at the end of December, but I wasn't able to order buttons until a week ago.  (Christmas left us broke!)  Anyway, the buttons came in today, and I couldn't wait to get them attached and take some photos.

The pattern is Harvest by Raya Budrevich (found on Ravelry).  Yarn is Malabrigo Rios in a color called Teal Feather, and the buttons are from Woodland Workshop on Etsy.

I made a size 2T and added length to the hem and sleeves.  And that would have been totally fine, but here's where I messed up a little:  I didn't block my gauge swatch!  I don't know why it didn't cross my mind to do so.  Maybe because I've never knit a sweater or cardigan -- mostly hats and shawls so far.  Anyway, lesson learned.  The good news is that it will fit him perfectly next year!  Cheesy

Picture time!  These shots were taken outside where it was pretty bright, so the color is kind of washed out.

I'm kind of obsessed with the buttons.

Action shots!  These photos are closest to the actual color.

(^^You can see how long it is here.  And the sleeve cuffs are rolled up, too!)

Full details on my Ravelry project page.  Also, (and I hope this is allowed) feel free to add me there.  I have like one friend.  Roll Eyes

Thanks for looking!
4  COOKING / Dessert / Christmas gift box cake on: December 26, 2014 12:25:33 PM
I decided to make a special cake for our family's Christmas get-together because a) I need the practice, and b) I was anxious to try a few new recipes.

So here is my Christmas gift box cake.  It's two layers of poached pear & cranberry spice cake, with marscarpone frosting sandwiched between, coated with a generous amount of Swiss buttercream, and encased in homemade fondant.

I was so excited when I came across this festive cake recipe ( http://thecakeblog.com/2013/11/pear-cranberry-cake.html ) a few months ago and immediately began making plans to use it around Christmastime.  The recipe says it fills four 6-inch round pans, so I made 1 1/2 times the recipe with the hopes of filling my three 9-inch square pans.  Unfortunately I didn't increase the recipe enough -- probably should have doubled it -- so I wound up with only two full pans.  This affected my original design, as I had planned on a tall, lidded box cake.  But since I was just making it for my own pleasure, I shrugged and let go of my tall-box-with-a-lid visions to settle for something that would look more like a simple wrapped box.  In the end I was still pretty happy with how it turned out.

I got a little nervous while the cakes were in the oven and began to second guess my recipe choice.  (What if the cranberries were too tart?)  But when I trimmed my cakes I gave the excess to my toddler, and he kept coming back for more.  Toddler approved!  It was also a hit at the party, and not just because my Mom asked everyone, at least twice, "Have you seen the cake?!  My daughter made it!" The cranberries burst during the cooking process and become a sweeter, more compact version of themselves.  The texture of the poached pears and the cranberries goes so well with the texture of the cake you're not really aware you're biting into pieces of fruit, but at they same time they're not mushy or soggy.  If you can find an excuse to make this cake I highly recommend it.  Grin

The recipe I used for the Swiss buttercream ( http://thecakeblog.com/2014/06/no-meringue-swiss-buttercream-recipe.html ) was another one that I've been itching to try.  It's a different take on the traditional Swiss meringue, just minus the meringue part.  It was super silky, delicious, and not excessively sweet.  Most importantly it was very stable and held its shape under the fondant without any trouble.  I will definitely be using this recipe again in the future.

The marscarpone frosting that I sandwiched between the layers was even more delicious.  (Recipe can be found on the same page as the cake recipe).  It was a little sweeter than the buttercream and overall kind of like a cream cheese frosting.  I would have liked to have covered the whole cake in this stuff, but I don't think it would have held up very well once the cake came to room temperature.  I had plenty left over though, so I plopped some on top of a slice of pumpkin pie last night, and I was in heaven.

My final recipe experiment was my homemade fondant.  The last time I made my own fondant I was so disappointed.  It was sticky and extremely difficult to work with, which resulted in multiple tears and elephant skin patches that had to be corrected using a sort of fondant spackling technique.  It was a disaster.  But I decided to give it another go because store-bought fondant is freakin' expensive.  This recipe ( http://artisancakecompany.com/2012/11/the-best-marshmallow-fondant-recipe-ever/ ) is it, y'all.  It's the one.  It stretches without tearing, and it doesn't taste like cardboard.  What more could one ask from fondant?

And here are the details about the, uh, details:

The bow, gift tag, and holly leaves are made from a 1:1 mixture of fondant and gumpaste.  I painted over the bow loops and ribbon with a combination of red gel color, gold luster dust, and vodka.  "Merry Christmas" on the tag was also hand painted using black gel color and vodka.  I brushed a very thin coat of Crisco over the holly leaves after they had dried to give them a glossy look.

The little gold snowflakes on the sides of the cake are made from rice wafer paper.  I sprayed the wafer paper with Wilton gold color mist, used a paper punch to cut out the snowflakes, and then gently pressed each one against an (unused) damp sponge before applying them to the cake.  The punch I have is actually intended to be the center of a lily.  But I thought it looked close enough to a snowflake, so I went with it.

The only thing I didn't make was the rosemary because, really, who needs that kind of headache when you have gorgeous (and already edible) rosemary sprigs at hand?

This was my first time making a square cake, but I think with a little more practice I'll have the kinks worked out.  If it wasn't going to be covered in fondant it would have needed some more smoothing.  I'm also not entirely happy with the corners and edges, but I already know what I'd do differently there next time.  Regardless, I'm happy how it turned out, both aesthetically and culinarily.  (The latter so much so that I had a generous slice of cake with my morning coffee.  Yeah.)

If this post was a little TL;DR for you, I totally understand.  But, as always, thanks for looking!
5  COOKING / Dessert / Spooky cake for my son's 2nd birthday on: November 01, 2014 08:02:47 PM
Here is the cake I made for my son's 2nd birthday.  Cheesy  His birthday was actually October 30, but we had his party today.  I was inspired by many different cakes, but the overall design is my own.  It's also worth mentioning that I chose to make bears because we call him Little Bear. 
(detailed description below photos)

The whole cake!

He's 2!!

Spooky name plaque!

Vampire bear - my favorite.

Mummy bear - he took the longest.

Ghost bear.

Here are all of the details, in case anyone is interested.  Smiley

Inside each tier is three layers of pumpkin cake made from fresh, roasted pumpkins that I pureed - yum!  The layers are filled and coated with a generous amount of milk chocolate ganache.

The outside of the cake and the board are covered in homemade marshmallow fondant.  (By the way, if anyone has any tips on making homemade fondant, they would be greatly appreciated.  I used a recipe from Craftsy, and while the final product tasted much better than the store-bought stuff, it was super difficult to work with).  I used a mixture of black icing color and vodka to paint the ombre effect on the fondant, as well as the spider webs and the string for the bunting.

All of the decorations were made using a mixture of gumpaste and fondant.  Each candy corn on the bunting was colored individually using edible markers.  His name was also drawn with edible marker, and I added some dimension to the pumpkins by using color dust.

What a long winded description, but there were a lot of details to cover!  I loved doing this for him though.  It was very much worth the many hours it took to complete.  And it's great practice for me, too!

Thanks for looking! Grin
6  COOKING / Dessert / Scooby Doo Cake on: October 25, 2014 10:30:02 AM
Just dropped off the Scooby Doo cake I made for a little boy's birthday.  Three layers of six-inch vanilla cakes frosted with chocolate ganache and decorated with fondant accents.  Each cake layer is a different color (orange, blue, and green) so it should be lots of fun to cut into as well as eat!

Thanks for looking!  Cheesy
7  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Spring Leaves shawl for my Mom on: September 09, 2014 05:16:39 PM
I finally finished this shawl I started back in May, and I'm so glad to finally have it off my needles!  I'm not sure exactly why it took me so long.  I think part of it had to do with my toddler getting a hold of it when I was almost halfway through, at which point I had to start completely over!  Shocked  Yeah, I think that may have dampened my excitement over knitting this shawl a bit.  It's also been difficult to find time for knitting because of said toddler.  And on top of that I've been busy with cake decorating classes lately (as if I needed a new hobby, but I am hooked, so too late).  But I did enjoy knitting this pattern.  It was easily adaptable to the size I wanted, and I just love lace work.

Anyway, the pattern is Spring Leaves and can be found on Ravelry here:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/spring-leaves-4 .  I used Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace Paints in a color the website called "celtic" and size 5 needles.  The finished size after blocking is approximately 27"x70".

I'm surprising my Mom with it for her birthday later this month.  I hope she likes it.  Smiley

The details:

And here's the whole thing laid out:

I tried to take a couple of action shots, but I suck at taking photos of myself.

Oh, and check out my needles after knitting this thing!  (Hint:  they were not green before I started).

Thanks for looking!  Cheesy
8  COOKING / Dessert / Labor Day Cake on: August 30, 2014 04:28:50 PM
I usually hang out in the knitting forums, but I've been taking cake decorating classes through Wilton so here I am.  Grin

This is my final cake for Course 3.  I did a patriotic theme for Labor Day.  This was my second attempt at covering a cake in fondant, and while it's not perfect, I'm pretty proud of myself for not having any folds.  I don't think you can tell because of the bunting, but I could have smoothed the sides a little more.  My fondant smoother kept picking up traces of the chocolate buttercream from the edge, so I decided to leave it alone before I smeared it everywhere.  In any case, it's so much better than my first attempt!

Inside there are two layers of chocolate Guinness cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.  I almost wish I was going to keep it so I could eat it.  But I'd totally stuff my face, so I've got a friend coming to take it off my hands.

Thanks for looking.  Smiley

9  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Goblin Hat on: February 26, 2014 01:07:20 PM
I just finished this hat for my brother.  He picked out the pattern, the colors, and the button.  I almost always block my projects, but I left this one alone since it was meant to be kind of slouchy.  Also, I was feeling lazy.  The pattern is on Ravelry:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/goblin-hat-2

I mentioned the blocking because I probably could have blocked out this seam effect where the rounds join, but it's going to be hidden by the fold-over so whatever.  Check out my jogless stripes, man.

At first, my brother was all, "I'm going to forage in the woods for a tree branch and make my own button!"  After pointing out that he had exactly zero tools with which to accomplish this, I introduced him to Etsy.  Gorgeous button purchased here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheArtofReZen?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Button in action!

And just for fun, here's some knitting action.

I'm still waiting on my brother to come and pick it up.  I'll upload an action shot when he tries it on.

I forgot to take a picture of him, so he sent me this one.  Putting it to proper use, as you can see.

He loves it!  Yay!  Grin

Thanks for looking!
10  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Lilyhammer knits on: January 03, 2014 03:01:32 PM
Has anyone else been watching Lilyhammer on Netflix?  I just started Season 2, and I love it.  Even more, I love all of the beautiful knits in the show!

Just look at these earmuffs!



These are my favorite knit item so far.  I must find a way to make them!  I'm thinking about making the basic shape like a cozy and fitting it over some pre-made earmuffs.  I don't know...I'm just spinning ideas right now. 

Just thought I'd throw that out there, though.  If you have Netflix and need some knitspiration, check out Lilyhammer!  Grin
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