Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

30 Nov
Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Tomorrow is Fisher’s 8th Birthday.  He has counted down to it pretty much since his 7th.  To celebrate, I made his favorite cupcakes to share with his class at school today:  Dirt & Worm Cupcakes.  They are super easy to make, taste great and are always a huge hit at school.

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

Dirt & Worm Cupcakes

I used a box of Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix, but you can use whatever chocolate cake mix you prefer.  Once they have completely cooled, I piped on some chocolate icing, rolled the tops of the cupcakes in crushed Oreo cookies and topped them each with a gummy worm.  Tah-dah!

Even though I used a box mix, I do highly recommend that you make your own chocolate icing.  It is always superior to canned icing that you find at the store and it is super simple to make.  This is my favorite chocolate icing recipe, one that I got from my mother:

Chocolate Icing Recipe:

  • 1/2 heaping cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of butter, softened

Directions:

Cream together the butter and cocoa powder.  Next, mix in the vanilla extract and salt.  Add the sour cream and mix until combined.  Slowly work in the confectioners sugar.  Once combined, mix at medium speed for a few minutes until it is nice and smooth.  I use this time to rinse off utensils and tidy up around the kitchen.  (Confectioners sugar inevitably ends up everywhere when I use it.)

The icing is usually cool from the refrigerated sour cream, so I let it set for a minute or two to let it warm up.  Cold icing is hard to pipe with.  If you want to pipe on the icing, just grab a bag and a large, open tip.  It doesn’t really matter what tip you use as long as it is a large one.  You don’t even have to make it look pretty since you’re just going to roll the iced part of the cupcake in crushed Oreo cookies.  It’s a fool-proof decorating plan!

If you don’t have a piping bag or tips, just grab a spatula or even a butter knife.  Again, it doesn’t have to look pretty.  The crushed Oreo’s hide just about any icing misstep.

This recipe will make enough icing for 24 cupcakes, plus a few extra.  This recipe is also great on chocolate cake.  I usually mix up two batches when icing a two-layer, eight inch round cake.

Enjoy!

Shells & Chains Scarf

30 Nov

Shells and Chains Scarf

Shells and Chains Stitch

My Christmas gift stash is growing larger every day.  Here is a delicate scarf I worked up over the span of two evenings.  Quick is always great when Christmas is only a few weeks away.  I searched all over Ravelry and Pinterest for a scarf pattern to compliment this Caron Simply Soft Yarn in the color Autumn Red.  I adore this color and have been saving it for something special.  Unfortunately I could not find the “it” pattern I was looking for.  Thus I turned to my favorite crochet reference book.

This book is a wealth of knowledge for hookers of every skill level.  It features easy to read instructions as well as diagrams and beautiful color pictures of every pattern.  It also includes a breakdown of international crochet symbols.  I am seriously in love with this book.

The pattern I settled on does not have a particular name or title.  It can be found in the Shells and Chains section of the book.  I worked the scarf to a length of approximately five feet and then edged it in a row of single crochet stitches to give it a polished appearance.  I even had some yarn left over when I was done!  (More yarn for my remnants stash!)  The skein I was working from was a 6 ounce, 315 yard long skein.  It’s a bit larger than your typical skein, but is still an affordable one.  The average price for this skein is $4.29 but can be frequently found on sale at local craft stores.

This one skein project ending up being beautiful, quick and very affordable.  Hooray, affordable!

Girls Crocheted Capelet, Take Two

29 Nov

Girls Capelet

Look familiar?  It should.  I worked up this exact pattern a few weeks ago in a different yarn and with a larger gauged hook.  I made the original one for my niece as a Christmas gift, but after looking at it for a few days I changed my mind.  It was a little too large for her and my daughter, who is about to turn 10 years old, had been eying it as well. In the end I gave it to my daughter much to her excitement.  She’s worn it a few times now and it has held up well.  It’s surprising the amount of warmth it holds in.

This second capelet was made with Caron Simply Soft Yarn in the color Lavender Blue using a size I-9 hook.  The only change I made was to the placement of the tie strings.  This time I placed the higher up to avoid curly along the edges of the neckline.  Instead of going to my niece, I’m giving this one to my co-workers daughter for Christmas.  I like the capelet much better in this yarn.  It’s softer and has a better drape across the shoulders.  I’ve been looking around for a different capelet pattern to do for my niece and have settled on a few potential candidates.  I’ll be interested to see how this different pattern works up.

Can you tell that I like capelets?  ;]

Let’s Talk Turkey

28 Nov

It’s been almost a week since Thanksgiving and I still have leftovers chilling in my fridge.  Actually, they may no longer be chilling.  They may be actively growing hair and fingernails.  *cough*  Ahem.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Ours was low-key and laid back.  Just like I like it.  I only had to make the dressing and a pie which made life a lot less complicated.  The dressing was my Great Grandmother Ocee’s recipe which is delicious and perfect in every way.  The pie was a Lemon Chess Pie which was amazing.  Traditional?  No.  Delicious and Lemon-tastic?  Oh, yes!  I am fiend for any dessert that is lemon flavored.  But really, who isn’t?  It wasn’t too strong or overly filling and seemed to pair well with the Pecan Pie my husband’s Grandmother made.

 

As you can see the weather in Central Oklahoma was mild on Thanksgiving.  Thankfully the kids played outside while the women finished up cooking in the kitchen.  Nothing sets tempers on edge more than children under foot when a hundred things are being prepared simultaneously.

Of course once the camera came out, Jaden and Fisher were ready to cheese for me on cue.  Look at the size of that Sycamore leaf!  This Sycamore tree is amazing if not a little smelly at times.

What the heck…why not make a quick photo shoot out of a few minutes of play?

And if we’re going to have a photo shoot, we might as well make faces at the camera for a few minutes.  It’s for the sake of  posterity after all.

The best part of our Thanksgiving was eating off of these sweet place mats that the kids made.  There were eight total, but these two were my favorites, mainly because they are morbid.  Those poor turkeys.  One is about to be run through with a sword and another is being hunted by a girl dreaming of turkey ribs.  Creepy!

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Cross Double Crochet Scarflet

28 Nov

Cross Double Crochet Stitch Scarf

I have been one busy lady.  With Christmas fast approaching, my hooks and I have been hard at work whipping up gifts and cold weather goodies for family and friends to enjoy.  This year I have been working on projects that I’ve been wanting to make in hopes that by the time Christmas arrives, I’ll know who to give them to.  It’s a fool-proof plan.  This is one such item that is currently resting in my gift stash.  It is a Cross Double Crochet Stitch Scarflet made from Lion Brand Homespun Yarn in the color Olive.  It is super soft and very stretchy.  It holds in heat well and looks absolutely amazing when worn.  I secured the scarflet with a gold La Mode Kilt Pin that I purchased from Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts.  The pattern was found on NewStitchADay.com.  It is one of my favorite sites for patterns and tutorials.  It worked up quickly and is definitely something to keep in mind for a last-minute gift.

Now I just need to decide which family member will find it under their tree this year. :]

Crochet Capelet

14 Nov

It’s alive!  Muahaha!

I finished this Capelet last night and I am absolutely thrilled with the result.  Actually, I feel like Doctor Frankenstein did upon bringing his monster to life.  If only there had been a strategically place lightening bolt and clap of thunder upon the completion of the last stitch!  What a missed opportunity!

I came across the pattern for this Capelet on Lion Brand Yarn’s website.  It’s a free crochet pattern, which is always a plus.  I sometimes have trouble linking this pattern.  Maybe it’s an operator error, but at times I just can’t get this pattern to pull up via a link.  Thus, here are the details:

  • Lion Brand Yarn Website
  • Crochet Capelet
  • Pattern #: 60728A

The pattern suggests using Vanna’s Choice yarn, but honestly any yarn will do.  Just keep your gauge in mind as you get ready to start.  I used Caron One Pound in the color Iris.  I’ve never used this particular yarn before and have mixed feelings about it.  The yarn is a great price for what you get.  That said, about ten rows into the pattern I came across  a large swath of yarn that was severely frayed.  This negated the entire point of purchasing a skein of this size.  I wanted to avoid having to work through several skeins and weaving in ends as I went.  However, once I cut out that section and started again, it was smooth sailing for the rest of the project.  Hopefully this was just a fluke.

Yarn complaints aside, I went with a size US K 10.5 hook.  If making this for a child, you may want to opt for a smaller hook.  Or, you can stick with the larger hook and allow for growing room.  As a mother of two, I am all for any garment or shoe that has a little bit of growing room to it.

The pattern does not state if this is for adults or children.  I would say that the smallest size would work fine for a child age six to eight of average build.  It wouldn’t be hard to adjust the pattern to fit an adult either.  Which, in my opinion, is what makes this pattern great.  It’s easy, it works up quickly and it’s versatile.  I worked on this for a few hours Sunday afternoon, a few hours on Monday night and finished it up last night after only an hour or two.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested.

Hooray, crochet!

The Cone of Shame

13 Nov

For the past week Denny has been diligent in ensuring that his rump is completely devoid of fur.  He has a hot spot that he can’t seem to leave alone.  The poor thing.  His rear is bold, red and angry.  (There’s an infant reference in there somewhere.)  He treats his rear like he treats his feet:  they are precious entities that must be defended against invaders at all costs.  This translates into him growling, snarling and basically looking like a bad ass anytime someone even stares thoughtfully at one of his forbidden areas.  It’s ridiculous.  After multiple doggy medications, I’ve settled on a hot spot gel for dogs.  It seems to work when he doesn’t manage to lick it off or rub it off on the carpet.  (Just imagine him lying on his back having an epileptic fit.  It’s hilarious and pathetic at the same time.)

This morning I finally broke down and drug out the Cone of Shame.  It’s been hiding in my closet since Denny suffered the indignity of being neutered a few years ago.  Somehow he seemed to have forgotten the horrible memories associated with the cone.  That is, until I tried to snap it around his neck.  Then it turned into a calf-roping rodeo where the calf had a lot of sharp teeth and the rope was a flimsy plastic piece of uncooperative crap.  Seriously.  This thing did not want to bend to my will and it definitely didn’t want to bend to fit around Denny’s neck.  It was a freak show that was thankfully only witnessed by Lemon,  our Dachshund, and our fish.  The fish did seemed to be a bit more wide-eyed than usual when I left for work.  I imagined that they were laughing and rightfully so.

I must admit that I am slightly afraid of what I’ll come home to.  Perhaps Lemon will be missing and the only clue to her location will be a note in her food bowl that has been snipped from magazines.  REMOVE THE CONE AND THE DACHSHUND WILL BE RETURNED UNHARMED.  ALSO, I NEED A BELLY RUB.

We shall see.  *fingers crossed*