Archive | December, 2012

Front Post Double Crochet Diamond Scarf

20 Dec
Front Post Double Crochet Diamond Scarf

Front Post Double Crochet Diamond Scarf

Here’s my latest lovely that I think turned out quite well if I do say so myself.   This has to be the fastest scarf that  I have ever worked up!  The pattern looks gorgeous and complicated but is actually easy to do once you get the hang of Front Post & Back Post Double Crochet.  I don’t know about you, but alternating between the two in a pattern always requires a bit of mental gymnastics on my part.  (The extra mental exertion always causes my tongue to poke out in concentration.  I don’t know how, but somehow crocheting with my tongue poking out like a loon helps.)

Front Post Double Crochet Diamond Scarf

The pattern is basically shells that increase in size as you work that are framed by diagonal front post and back post double crochets.  The result is this beautiful diamond-like pattern that I absolutely adore.  I chose a crimson tweed yarn for this particular piece.  The recipient is fond of tweed and hounds-tooth and I thought this to be a perfect fit for her.  Once I was done, I made another once in a deep crimson yarn sans the tweedy bits.  It too turned out to be lovely but found its way into some wrapping paper before I remembered to take a photo.  Oops.  These completed my Christmas gifts for the season and they were wonderful pieces to end on.

Once again I pulled the pattern from my favorite pattern reference book.  I know, I know.  You want a free pattern to link to!  You don’t want to have to go out and buy a book!  But trust me, this is well worth the purchase.  You’ll thank me in the end.

I’ll be absent for the next week as we travel back to Georgia to spend Christmas with my side of the family.  With the trip being 18 hours one way, I may need to bring some yarn along with me just in case.  Surely I can come up with something wonderful in 18 hours!  Suggestions are welcomed.  :]

I hope that you and yours enjoy the Holiday season and I’ll see you again before New Years!


Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

18 Dec

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I’ve meant to post about these amazing little cupcakes for weeks now, however I have been too exhausted to make myself do so.  Two birthday parties back-to-back almost did me in!  I have never baked so much in my life and I am now on a baking strike until after the New Year.  (I “may” have gone through 8 pounds of confectioners sugar in one weekend.  Eek!)

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

For Jaden’s 10th Birthday, which was two weeks ago, she asked for Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes for her classroom celebration.  I instantly had horrific flashbacks of the last time I made these but resolved to improve upon the last experience.  Surely these cupcakes would not steal my sanity twice!

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

And they didn’t!  This time I decided to not over think it and to just bake the darn things already!

I filled each cake cone 2/3 way full with cake batter and then placed each cake cone in an opening of my muffin pan.  Mind you, you have to be VERY careful when placing them in the oven or they will tip over.  (…and you will curse and shout and tear out all of your hair when this happens.  Don’t worry, that’s normal.)  Once baked, I carefully set them out on a wire rack to cool.  While they cooked, I whipped up some buttercream icing and colored it in two not-too girly yet not too-boyish colors.  (Because Jaden does not like pink.)  Once colored, I filled up my piping bag which I fitted with my largest star tip and went to work.  Starting on the outside edge, I piped in a clock-wise motion as I worked my way toward the center.  And Viola!

Then came the hard part.  Figuring out how the heck I was going to transport these things to school without them falling over.  The last time I made these I constructed this complicated cardboard carrying system with custom cut holes soaked in my tears.  This time I shoved them all into an aluminum baking dish and willed them not to fall over.  Despite driving 0.02 miles an hour all the way to the school, about half of the fell over.  Thankfully the buttercream had developed a bit of a crust to it and thus they weren’t damaged too badly.  Ah well.

4thd Grade children aren’t looking for works of art, they just want to eat something sweet!  :]

Single Crochet Drop Stitch Scarf

17 Dec

Single Crochet Drop Stitch Scarf

The beautiful yarn that I bragged about the other week has finally found its way into a beautiful scarf.  I absolutely adore this yarn and this pattern!  I knew as soon as I purchased this yarn that whatever it became, would be staying with me.  The color palette is one of my favorites and the texture and softness of the yarn begged to be along side my neck.

Single Crochet Drop Stitch Scarf
Single Crochet Drop Stitch Scarf

The pattern was very simple but yielded a visually intriguing product.  I played around with a few patterns with this yarn before deciding on this one.  I wanted a pattern that would highlight the vibrant color variations in the yarn and I think this pattern does just that.  It shows off the subtle color changes well and drapes nicely around the neck and/or across the shoulders.

If you haven’t already purchased this book, then hopefully this scarf will urge you on.  This pattern of single crochet stitches paired with drop stitches was pulled from my favorite book pictured above.  There are so many beautiful patterns in there that it takes me hours to decide on which one to do next.  *sigh*  I do so love it.

Cake Decorating Party

6 Dec
Mini Cakes

Mini Cakes

This past Sunday, Jaden celebrated her 10th Birthday early by having some friend over for a cake decorating party.  After letting Jaden & Fisher decorate cupcakes for my birthday and having so much fun, I decided that Jaden and her friends would have even more fun decorating their own mini-cakes.  And I was right!

Cake Decorating Table

I baked a 6″ x 2″ round cake for each girl and iced it with buttercream icing.  I sectioned out the leftover buttercream icing and colored each in a different color.  Finally I bagged each color in a piping bag fitted with a coupler and a decorative tip.  I set out the rest of my decorating tips for the girls to use if they so chose.  It only took a short demonstration to teach the girls how to unscrew the coupler and change out the tips.  Once they got that down, they were off to the races!

Child Decorating Cake

And boy did they work hard on their cakes.  They carefully piped on each line and flower.  They studied each angle before apply the icing.  They made sure to use every tip and color available to them at least twice!  As one girl proclaimed, “You can’t rush art.”  So true, girls, so true.

Child's Decorated Mini Cake

We even tested out some spray-on food coloring.  It worked well although, once the girls got a hold of the spray cans, the house was filled with a fine red mist of food coloring.  They got messy with everything in every way possible and cherished every moment.  You should have seen the table after the sprinkles and candy Imperials had been opened.  Yikes!

After making gingerbread cookie rockets for her brother’s birthday party, these mini-cakes were a cinch!  The girls absolutely loved it and each got a slice to eat once they were done.  I’d highly recommend this to anyone interested.  I would definitely do it again in the future.  :]

Bottles & Rockets

5 Dec
Gingerbread Rocket

Gingerbread Rocket

This past Saturday was Fisher’s 8th Birthday.  For the very first time we had a proper party for him that included some friends from school.  I know, what kind of mother am I?  You’ve never thrown your son a birthday party?  Oh, I have.  It’s just never been one of those parties where you mail out invitations and agonize over RSVP’s.  It has always just been family in the past.

I have fretted over how to entertain a group of boys for weeks now.  What do boys like?  Heck if I know.  In the end I made some gingerbread cookies in rocket shapes and had my husband construct them for me.  (By the time it came to build the rockets, I was on the verge of a nervous break down.  I had this beautiful picture in my head of how I wanted them to look and when my first attempt at construction was a failure, I almost lost my mind.)  Mind you, I’d been cleaning and baking for two straight days up until this point and was utterly exhausted.

Jordan opted for boy-proof construction rather than something that was pretty but would fall apart as soon as someone touched it.  Thus the copious amounts of icing.  By the time the icing had dried, these rockets could have made a daring bid for the moon.  These things were solid.  And I’m glad that they were because the boys first instincts were to pick them up and zoom them around the room. Whew!

Decorated Gingerbread Cookie Rocket

I don’t know who was happier, Fisher or his rocket!  :]  If you’d like to make your own gingerbread cookie rockets, here is what you need:

  • Gingerbread Cookies, Baked to Desired Shapes
  • Sugar Cones
  • Gingerbread House Icing “glue” (Super sticky and thick Royal Icing)
  • Candy for Decoration

My not-so-specific-instructions:

For the pointed “nose cone” of the rockets I used sugar cones.  You’d think that these would be found near the ice cream aisle, but that was not the case.  I honestly thought that I’d never find them at the grocery store.  They were finally located next to the Peanut Butter & Jelly.  You know, the same aisle as Coffee.  Because that makes total sense.

Next, I measured base of the cone to find out how wide it was.  I planned on inverting the cone for the tip of my rocket and wanted to make sure that the gingerbread cookies I baked would correctly support the cone.

Finally, I mixed up some gingerbread cookie dough cut out rectangles and triangles.  I used three rectangular cookies per rocket to make the body of the rocket.  Thus the rocket ended up being three-sided.  I had originally planned on using four cookies per rocket to make up the body, but that did not allow for proper attachment when I can to the sugar cone.  I also used three triangles per rocket to make the directional fins at the base of the rocket.  It’s hard to tell in the picture because of all the icing, but the little triangular fins are there.

Gingerbread Cookie Rocket

Here’s a lovely sketch by yours truly to demonstrate how it all came together.

Diet Coke & Mentos

Once the rockets were decorated and all the left-over candy decorations had been eaten, the boys headed out into the back yard to set off some bottles of Diet Coke with the aid of mint-flavored Mentos.  It was a huge hit.  The boys begged to stand in the line of fire, but I couldn’t possibly be the mom who sent home boys soaked in soda after a birthday party.  I would be shunned for the rest of time for such a thing.  The boys were only temporarily disappointed.  ;]

The party was a hit and the boys only talked and sang about poop for 30 minutes of the two-hour party.  I say that’s the stamp of success.


4 Dec

For the past two years I’ve driven by this beautiful building downtown always wondering what the “Yarn and Loops” sign on the exterior meant, never knowing that it was a haven for yarn fanatics and fiber lovers of every craft.  The beautiful brick building turned out to be the home of the L & B Yarn Co.  L & B sells a plethora of yarn and fibers as well as crochet hooks and knitting needles.  If you’re ever in Norman, OK, you owe it to yourself to stop by.  The staff is amazing friendly and helpful and the yarn is to die for.  Oh, I love it so.

So far these skeins have been my only purchases, but I must say that I couldn’t be happier.  Look at them; aren’t the gorgeous?  These are Universal Yarn’s Class Shades in the color Watermelon.  It is a medium weight yarn that is 70% Acrylic and 30% Wool.  Not only is it super soft but it is super beautiful.  I am going to be selfish and keep these for myself.  My only problem is what to make with them.  I have agonized over the perfect item and pattern to use ever since I purchased this yarn.  I really want to showcase the color variations within the skeins.  At 197 yards each, I have a grand total of 394 yards to play with.  Universal Yarn suggests using a size J-10 hook, but I may end up using a size smaller.  Who knows.  All I can do at the moment is drool.  *sigh*

A Capelet of a Different Pattern

3 Dec

My second attempt at making my niece a capelet has been a success.  After making the last two capelets from the same pattern, I wanted to try something different.  I came across the pattern for this one while browsing around Pinterest.  And yes, I realize that this one is purple just like the other two.  What can I say, my friends and family really like purple.

Once again I used Caron Simply Soft Yarn in the color Lavender Blue with a size I-9 hook.  The open work detail and shell design along the bottom edge was a nice departure from the other pattern I had done.  And the cute purple gem button should be a huge hit for my 5 year old niece.   I found this particular button at Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts.  Can you tell that Jo-Ann’s is my favorite craft store?  ;]

Up next: yarn that isn’t purple!