Saturday, October 13, 2012

Snickerdoodle Cookie Cupcakes

cupcake saturday

These are going to be the second out of three types of cupcakes I made for my sister's birthday. It seems like all I do is spoil that girl! Last week, I talked about her favorite cupcakes- vanilla with root beer float icing.

This week, it's my favorite out of the three. snickerdoodle cookie cupcakes. Yes, there was a cookie at the bottom. Yes, it was delicious.

 Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

The icing was definitely the best part. I intend to make it again and again. Seriously, it would be amazing on zucchini, or carrot, or even chocolate cupcakes. It was light and fluffy, and the cinnamon really kicked it up a notch.

Alright, I'm drooling already.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

The cupcake itself was okay. Not spectacularly moist, but still awesome. The best part was the cookie at the bottom.

Unfortunately, the recipe didn't make enough cookies to put in all the cupcakes, which was disappointing. I didn't have enough time to make more, so about half of my cupcakes were cookieless. Don't get me wrong, they were still awesome, it was just a little disappointing.

Next time I make these (because there will definitely be a next time, I'm going to cool the cookie dough longer and double the amount of dough. ...and try not to eat all the frosting before it goes on the cupcakes.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mittens for my sister

finished object friday

The first project I turned in for a class in HPKCHC was a pair of spectacularly awesome fingerless mittens. Last winter, I intended to give my sister a pair of fingerless mitts for Christmas. She's at the age where she's starting to care about what she wears, and wants to be unique. Handknit mitts? Perfect!

Except, I kind of fell in love with them by the time I finished. I hated the quality of the yarn (poorly dyed! Super easily tangled! Pain in the neck!), but I adored the finished product. The best part was that they matched a cowl I had already made, both in design, and in color.

So... yeah, those mittens stayed in my closet. What my sister doesn't know won't hurt her, right?

While she was none the wiser, I knew I couldn't pull that again. She had been asking me for quite some time for awesome mitts, and I wanted to make her something she would like. During the summer, I went on a yarn crawl with my best friend, and picked up some Cascade 220 Sport in her color. She's lain claim on this color the past few years (and was very upset when I got a car in almost the right color; apparently, she still intends to steal the car as soon as she's able to drive), so I knew it was something she'd hands down like.

Because I'm a super sneaky sister, I told her that I wanted to make myself mittens, but I couldn't decide on which pair to make. I pulled up a list of potential patterns using the spiffy Ravelry search engine, and let her tell me which ones she liked the best. She wound up picking the pattern Seeta, something I was excited about. I had loved the pattern the first time I had seen it, and was really interested in finding out how the design was made.

Seeta Mitts

After a rough start and a few frogs, I finally was on a roll. I whipped them out in no time! I was so excited about these mitts, and had to be persuaded by a friend to put them away and not steal them... again.

It took a few times of wearing them around the house (you know, to test drive them...) that I noticed I had made a major boo boo, even after  frogging so many times. Can you spot it below?

Seeta Mitts

I had knit an uneven number of ribbed rows at the start of the mitts One had eight row, and the other had ten. Don't ask me how I wound up doing that. Whatever. It won't be noticable under her coat, and I doubt she'll ever even realize.

The only other changes I made in the thumb; I picked up the amount of stitches that the pattern called for, knit for two rows but I decreased during those rows get an even 2x2 ribbing. I then knit five rows of the rib, just to make it more cohesive.

The pattern was excellent- I adore the overall effect. It did take me several tries to understand how to do the  crosses- I suggest reading the projects rated the  most helpful before you tackle this pattern. I turned this in for the September DADA assignment of knitting something to help you pick out a loved in a crowd- the between the pattern and the color, Jennifer will certainly stand out!

I just keep having to repeat "I will NOT steal these mittens" to myself until Christmas...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Return of the Root Beer Float

cupcake saturday

A few weeks ago was my sister's birthday. For months in advance, she requested Root Beer Float cupcakes. I wound up driving up on the Friday night of her party, and was immediately put to work! My mom had bought a cookie cake for Jen, but she was afraid it wasn't going to be enough.

I whipped into action! I arrived at my parents house approximately the time Jen's guests were supposed to arrive, so we had them play games so we could stall on their pizza dinner. I wound up using a doctored up vanilla cake mix for the base (double the eggs and milk instead of water),  and Jen's favorite frosting

Cupcake Liners

I wound up picking out these adorable cupcake liners- I loved them. So I made the frosting match!Root Beer Float Cupcakes

It didn't hurt that Jen's cake was pink, teal, and green! For once, everything matched.The cupcakes were pretty bland, and not as moist as I expected, which was disappointed. I've yet to find a quick yellow cake recipe that doesn't require cake flour. Nevertheless, the icing totally made these cupcakes, which was the point. That's all Jen was concerned with anyway!

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

So after flying through these cupcakes.... the kids at Jen's party didn't even eat them. Talk about stressing for nothing! That was okay, my parents were throwing a volleyball party the next day, so they *did* get eaten, just not early enough to warrant me running around like a crazy person whipping them up after a three hour drive.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Detention: Swirly Hat for Dad!

finished object friday

Eek! I'm afraid I've been rather, well, lax with my blogging lately! Classes and work have been utterly exhausting lately, I just plain have been busy! But, here's a FO from (eek!) a month ago.

Swirl Hat

As I mentioned before, I joined the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup as part of the Gryffindor team. As part of my detention, I finally finished a hat I had started long before that. It had gone through some serious frogging and reknitting before that, but it all turned out well.

Swirl Hat
The pattern was Swirly Hat, and I think it looks rather fabulous. The only changes I did was to knit a longer brim, and to only cast on 100 stitches. I used my absolute favorite yarn ever- Manos del Uruguay Maxima. It was so deliciously soft, I kept petting it. Because I made it for my father for Christmas, I'm really hoping that he enjoys it as much as I do. I specifically picked out the color because I think it'll look fabulous with his eyes, which will make my mom happy. He's yet to ever receive a knitted gift from me, so hopefully he'll like this one!

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's a big as the uuuuuuuniverse!

 finished object friday

This time, it's something big!

Frozen Leaves Shawl\

I finished my Frozen Leaves shawl, aka "Aaaachoo! Spring Leaves" because I had an attack of the allergies while knitting it, and because it's a nice snotty color. Like I said before, I've got the sense of humor of a seven year old boy.

The shawl is nice, and lovely, and best of all, HUGE. It was so big, in fact, when I tried to block it out on my bed, I very quickly realized that it would be bigger than my bed if I had blocked it out to it's fullest extent. As it is, it's perfectly lovely.

Frozen Leaves Shawl

I knit it out of this lovely yarn I scored on sale, Baruffa Cashwool (don't you just love that name?) on size four needles. Initially, I was rather nervous about how loose my knitting was, but I think it turned out perfectly, and I still have a billion yards left of the yarn!

I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but that's a thought for another day.

I went a bit bead crazy. Not only did I add it on every other row of center stitch  of the leaves,  I also added them on the stitch that joined three stitches together, until the last chart, where I knit it every other row because it lined up weird.

Frozen Leaves Shawl

I think those beads may have added about five pounds to the finished weight. I do know that this provides no warmth against bare skin, as the beads are freezing, so I suspect I'll be wearing it either over long sleeved clothing or when I want to be cooled off, rather than keeping warm in restaurants like I originally thought.

This was a lovely pattern, and absolutely addictive to knit. I kind of wish I was still going!

Then again, I worked on it for like a month, so it's a good thing I finally finished.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lost in a Good Book (Literally!)

book review thursday

book review thursday

Uh, talk about an awesome book- Lost in a Good Book drew in me completely. Not only was it a great expansion of the incredibly interesting premise the prequel introduced, it also made Thursday Next an even more likeable character. I'm not talking about introducing something for her to mope over- meaning the removal of her spouse, I'm talking about her reactions to small events. They made her seem so real to me.

I sped through this book a few months ago, so I'm afraid I can't remember too many of my thoughts other than "AWESOME". I know I was a bit disappointed with the ending- I was moving the next day, and I couldn't check out the next book, so it was a bummer the ending ended on rather a cliffhanger.

I loved Mycroft's "retirement"; it was an absolutely perfect tie in that I didn't (surprisingly) see coming. I also enjoyed the steadfast devotion Thursday's partner showed her when she told him what happened to her husband. I may still be a bit mopey that Thursday didn't wind up with him, rather than her actual husband who has had shockingly little screen time, and from what I can remember, little personality as well. Whatever, to each their own. Any way you look at it, this was a great book, one I'd definitely recommend.
(5/5 stars)

Friday, September 7, 2012


finished object friday

Because apparently I'm baby-crazy, I made more baby clothes during the Ravellenic games. I know anyone who is reading this, myself included is sick of hearing about the Ravellenics (which reminds me of calisthenics, which I suppose makes sense- knitting is a rhythmic activity).
and I have no idea what that even is), but I have one last project to go until I'm done talking about what I finished during them.

Before the games started, I finished this adorable pumpkin baby hat. Unfortunately, my camera decided to go crazy with the colors. I apologize if it makes anyone's eyes bleed.


Cute, right? Let's just hope I eventually meet a baby born in October or November.  Of course, I couldn't just leave it alone. I just had to make the bootees. That mandate was mostly because I still had more of the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and I just wanted it out of my stash.


So I whipped up another pair of Saartje's Bootees, this time with ortsandaughts' mods. It took me a while to understand her directions, but after a few times of ripping out, I finally figured it out.

I kind of want to knit these in my size. I can't get over how cute they are. This picture doesn't do them near enough justice, though the colors are a lot more closer to life than the one of the hat.

Now I have that Cinderella song stuck in my head. I might have to drag that movie out and watch it tonight. Now all I need to do is make a reversible carriage/pumpkin toy and I'll complete the set.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy

book review thursday

book review thursday

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of those books that I felt obligated to read. It's on every SciFi list. Most of the CPAAGers love it. It glares at me from shelves of Barnes and Nobles.

In short, I was going to have to read it whether I liked it or not.

Thankfully, I liked it. No, actually I loved it! I first downloaded the ebook from my library, but very quickly discovered that the wonderful Stephen Fry narrated the audio version. As quick as I could, I traded versions, and then gleefully waited for the start of the Ravellenic Games. The anticipation was killing me. Not because all of these people loved the book, but because I got to listen to hours of Stephen Fry speaking. That man's voice is second only to Alan Rickman in my mind.

About five minutes in and I was completely hooked. I adored Arthur Dent. I liked Ford Prefect. I didn't quite enjoy Zap but I'll take what I can get. The concept was so interesting and well executed that I couldn't stop listening. It was a bit difficult to understand in some places (especially when it came to the Ultimate Question. I think that may have been because I was listening, rather than reading the page), but just how overwhelmingly funny it was more than made up for it.

I can not wait to read the next volume!

(4/5 stars)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Pretzel Crust

make something monday

Wait, I'm actually writing about something that isn't knitting or cupcakes?! Shocking!


As delicious as cupcakes are, sometimes I want to branch out of the cake world. A few months ago, I decided what I really wanted was some chocolate chip cookies.

I hate baking cookies though. With all the scooping and waiting to cool and wire racks, it takes forever. So I went trolling through recipes and found a suitable substitute- chocolate chip cookie bars with a pretzel crust. Can you say "yum"?

Except, they weren't. Don't get me wrong, they weren't bad. The crust just didn't stick to the cookie,  and there was too much chocolate for my taste. Everyone else loved them. I wound up surrepticiously scraping all of the pretzel  crust off and gleefully eating it in the pantry. I think if I made it again, I'd actually reverse the order- I'd pop the crust on top so it had a better chance of staying on.

Actually, scratch that, I might as well just give it up and make the actual cookies.

To recap: not a bad recipe. They were suitably delicious, but not holy cow amazing. I'd recommend making them at least once!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A New Sort of Challenge

start something sunday

I know I haven't been the greatest at blogging recently. In part, it's adjusting to my new schedule. In part, it's that I haven't felt up to really writing- even if the only thing I write is a paragraph's worth of bad jokes. I have a  backlog of photos that I want to talk about, and I promise, eventually I'm going to get there. In fact, I think that next weekend I'll be dedicating an afternoon to writing up some of that backlog. In the meantime, accept this brief, ridiculously excited post.

I've been hit by the startitis bug. There's nothing that motivates me more when it comes to crafting and baking than a self-induced competition. Set me up against other people and I get wishy-washy. Tell me to compete against myself? Game ON. When the Ravellenics ended, I was pretty bummed. For one thing, I didn't finish that shawl. For another, it meant that race against time was over. I had nothing to be excited about when it came to competing. I didn't know of any other challenges that I could compete in apart from One Day a Week for UFOs (a group which, I admit, I kind of abandoned because I ran out of UFOs!), and Stash Knit Down (which I'm not really interested in competing. I'd actually prefer to increase my stash because I know I'll be facing the real financial world soon).

So yes. There was some significant moping when the Olympics ended. Thankfully, I also was listening to this great videocast called The Knit Girllls, which introduced me to my newest obsession: The Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup. Yes, you read that right. I'm competing with others in a.. fictional challenge.
Okay, I admit it. I'm not the biggest Harry Potter fan. I loved the books when I was growing up. Then the fifth, sixth, and seventh books came out and I realized that frankly, J.K. Rowling, while a great kids/action/fantasy writer really wasn't great at all aspects of writing, and those books kind of ruined the series for me. Don't get me wrong- I read all the books. I still think it's an amazing series, and I'm so glad that I was introduced to them when I was... I just grew out of them. So when I first heard about this knitting and crochet group, I wasn't really that thrilled... and then I heard Laura continue to talk about it and explain and I was intrigued.

Okay, I was more than intrigued. I impatiently waited for the sorting to open and stuck my name in as soon as possible. I expected to be sorted into Ravenclaw or Slytherin (the two houses I self-identify with the most because the whole interacting-with-people thing? Not really my forte). Surprise, surprise! Instead it was Gryffindor!


I understand where it came from (kind of). I'm very ambitious about my projects- stupidly so, see the aforementioned Ravellenics shawl- and that can be translated into bravery when it comes to setting goals for myself.

Regardless, I'm so happy to be participating in the cup. It's only two days in, and I'm already having so much fun! It's seriously started a bout of startitis in me that has yet to fade (if anything, I'm getting worse!)

So far, I've cast on for a lovely beaded shawl:

Holden Shawlette

The photo does nothing to show off how gorgeous this yarn is in my Holden. It's going to count for my Flying lesson- it'll be awfully pointy!

Then today, I couldn't leave well enough alone, and cast on for another project.

Seeta Mitts

These Seeta Mitts are for my sister, Jennifer, as well as counting for DADA. Hopefully they're bright enough to help identify her.

And that's it... For now. I suspect that by tomorrow another project will sneak onto my needles. I already have a few more projects assigned to different classes, but I'm afraid that if I cast on too many things, they won't all get done! So I'm trying to reign myself in.

Trying being the key word.