Hissy Kitties

Sorry I have been absent so long. It isn’t for lack of projects, I just haven’t had my camera to take pictures. I actually have some really exciting things to share with you that I have been working on for a while and just got around to finishing. One is a gift that is going to be given soon, so that is part of the hold up on that one. Hopefully I can post those pictures in the next few days.

Another delay in blog posts has been the fact that our most recent foster kittens have been a hissy, frightened mess and it was only today that I was really able to get pictures of them. We have only had one other group that was this hissy and they came to us at 8 weeks old. We tried pretty hard with them, but I don’t know how much we were able to socialize them before it was time for them to go back. This time the pair is only 4 weeks old so I have a lot more hope that with some patience they will turn into happy little lap kittens that will be easily adopted.

We went for a Mad Men theme this time.

This is Joan. (we named this one Joan because she is the fancy one)

Here is Peggy.  She was by far the most timid, which is why I was completely blown away when I walked into the bathroom where we have been keeping them today and she was purring! There has been gradual progress all week, but today was by far the biggest change. They even interacted with me when I tried to play with them.

We have never had a group that we have had to keep so isolated before, but because of their size and how scared they were (plus the fact that Cutty seems less than thrilled that they arrived) we have not let them out of their room. So please excuse the nasty grout on the bathroom floor. Our apartment has probably not been retiled for over 50 years and although I clean it regularly- thanks to my new steam mop- it just always looks gross. Sorry.

The other interesting thing today was that they seemed to be paying attention to what was happening on the other side of the door. Cutty has also started to show interest in the bathroom, while before he had been trying to pretend that there wasn’t anything going on in there.

You can see them here wondering what in the world is throwing itself against the door and meowing. Poor Cutty, he really wants in that bathroom.

I can’t wait to see how they are behaving in another week!

Happy Easter

Some cookie makers just see in their mind how to combine different cutters to make new shapes. I have a hard time with this. So I was pretty impressed when I thought up this idea. I haven’t done extensive research, so I am sure someone else has done this before. But for me, I was just looking at my cookie cutters and thought “I wonder what would happen if I combine this egg and this miniature bell shape. Besides the one above I also combined it like this:

I used my new PME tips (love them!!!) and some GLAZE icing. You read that right, I was experimenting with glaze instead of my normal royal icing. I’m getting all crazy with shapes and recipes. Who knows what I’ll try next. (apparently I need some real excitement in my life)

That’s a bad picture but the tip says PME. Anyway. . . this is what that first combination became:

The next one did not turn out as well as I had hoped. I really liked the idea of having a chick in the shape of an egg, but something just wasn’t right. Oh well, it is still going to be tasty.

Here are some more of the cookies.

Gotta love the mini cookies!

Some of my favorite in the set were these crosses. I wasn’t going to make any because I wasn’t sure how to decorate them. However, they are the most important of the Easter cookies so I shouldn’t be surprised that I liked them the best.

I got the idea for these flowers from Lila Loa.

I am still debating this glaze icing. I have gotten so used to Royal Icing (RI) that I just feel unsure about how to use this new stuff. However, glaze is hands down the better tasting icing. I think I will have to do more experimenting. If you want more info on glaze I recommend Cookie Crazie and Sweet Hope Cookies.

Happy Easter!!!

Devil’s Food and Buttercream

We had my family over last night for my mom’s birthday. She loves chocolate so I made some Devil’s Food cupcakes from a recipe in Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook. I obviously can’t share the recipe here, but it is a fabulous cookbook. I had never heard of Thomas Keller until Hubby started talking about him, and Michelin Star ratings on restaurants and some restaurant in San Fransisco that costs like 200 dollars a person for dinner. A few years ago these things would have had no meaning for me, but I am starting to think we might make the trek out to the west coast sometime to try the restaurant. Of course our budget has to recover from our recent trip first. Maybe it can be his birthday present next year. Maybe I’ll get an award for being the best wife ever.

I digress.  I commented on how awesome Thomas Keller is and Hubby pointed out that all of the dessert recipes are probably by his pastry chef at his restaurant. Whatever, it’s his name on the cookbook so he gets the credit. Here are the cupcakes.

We knew they were going to be pretty awesome. We had tried them last month for Hubby’s mom’s birthday. That time Hubby had made a boiled buttercream which I had never made before (I was sick in bed with a fever so I was not involved in that process). So this time I was super excited to try my hand at a new frosting. Then we realized we didn’t have enough butter for that recipe and the recipe for dinner. So I used the butter that was available and made a version of the buttercream icing my mom always made. I like that about the easy version. I don’t think I measured anything but I had made it so many times that it turned out fine.

While I was waiting for the cupcakes to cool I melted some chocolate candy coating and put it in a squeeze bottle.

This was left over from my attempts at cake pops. True story:  a little over a year ago my sister gave me Bakerella’s Cake Pop book. I had never heard of these things! I loved it! I started reading her blog and she mentioned another blogger, Marian from Sweetopia. Sweetopia had the most gorgeous decorated cookies and the more I read about them the more I thought I could do that. The rest is history.

Sorry I keep getting distracted today. I made some designs on wax paper and let the candy dry. Not terribly original designs I might add.

However, when they went onto the cupcakes they seemed pretty cute. I would have been embarrassed about how easy these cupcakes were except they were SO DELICIOUS!!!

Happy Birthday Mom!

 

 

Work In Progress

Sorry I have been gone so long. I went a few places. For my birthday a friend gave me  a gift card to a craft store and so before I left I bought yarn and some plastic crochet hooks so that I could take my project on the plane with me to. . .

Amsterdam!

I continued to work on my projcet on the train. . .

 

to Brussels!

After that we went to. . .

come on, do I really have to say this one?

When we got home I looked at my WIP (work in progress for those people who are not yarn nerds like me) and I was pretty happy with the progress.

The plan is for this to become an infinity scarf. I chose this project because it would be very portable, but now that I am home in the 80 degree weather I am wondering if it is really out of season. If you are interested in the pattern I got it from this Etsy shop and I recommend you check out her other patterns, too. Very Cool!

Babies and Birthdays

In my teeny tiny apartment I have had to get creative with how I store things. I do not have the luxury of being able to leave things out for a few days (not that I am neat, I am a naturally messy person and so this has been a challenge for me). This means when I get out everything I need to decorate cookies I want to make the most of it for a day or two and then put it all away.So when I was asked to make cookies for a baby shower, I made a few extra for a birthday party!

I also just used the left over baby shower colors for the birthday cookies and I think it worked fine. I started out having trouble with my pink. I couldn’t seem to get the color right. Once I added two drops of fuchsia, the color deepened and I was happier with it.

You can still see a little bit of the yellow icing left on the bowl from where I had just mixed it. That is because I deliberately mix lighter colors first so that I can use the same bowl for multiple colors. I learned the trick from Karen’s Cookies. She has fabulous tutorials, plus she sells some of the hard to find decorating supplies. I have bought many things there and have always been impressed by the items and service. This is not a paid advertisement, just letting you know what I think.

If any of you decorate cookies or read cookie blogs you have probably heard about the spray bottle technique for thinning royal icing. The tip came from One Tough Cookie and is a great idea. I have just never gotten around to buying a spray bottle. This was what I came up with this time and it worked pretty well, I will probably try it a few more times before I give it my final verdict. I filled the cup with water and used the spoon to add water a little at a time to each batch of icing. I did notice as I went that I had figured out how many spoonfuls I would need to achieve certain results. I could see where this could be useful in the future so I wouldn’t have to do so much guessing to get the icing to the consistency I am looking for.

No pictures of the work in progress, just some final results. I had been asked to do pink and green, but I added the blue for a little interest. The shower was for a baby girl, but I heard the mom was using blue in the nursery.

 

 

I love the little foot prints. Someone showed me once how to make a little footprint using the side of your hand on a foggy window. I still do it sometimes . . .because I am an 8-year-old apparently.

And then there are the birthday cookies!

I used a bunch of different techniques on these. Quite a few bloggers have been talking about brush embroidery recently. I had used it on some of my Christmas trees this past year and I thought I would play with some flowers this time. I was terribly impatient and did not let the bottom layer of icing dry completely which meant I had to be very gentle with the brush. Do not be like me, let the bottom layer dry. (if you want more info on brush embroidery Ali Bee has a great tutorial)

Well if nothing else in this post I have linked you to a bunch of my favorite cookie bloggers. I have learned so much from them! I hope you enjoy looking at their fabulous work.

(and Happy Birthday A-dub)

 

Christmas Wreath Disaster (and some cookies)

I was so proud of my Christmas Wreath. I had imagined what it would look like, and then worked to create the pattern. When it turned out just how I had pictured it I couldn’t have been happier. I left it hanging on the door to my closet because I loved how it looked around the old glass doorknob (our apartment is in a house that is over 100 years old). Then Cutty realized he could reach it.

Part of my mistake was that I let him play with the left over leaves. He loved them and we would play fetch over and over with them. Then he realized he could catch them in mid-air if I threw them gently enough and so that became our new game. You can tell these leaves have been well loved.

One night before bed Cutty brought me a leaf that looked like it was in really good shape. I just thought, oh this must be one we haven’t played with as much. I tossed it for him a few times and then went to bed. The next morning I came out of the bedroom and found the wreath like this.

This actually happened a few weeks ago, but I had to take pictures today because I am having to hide the wreath again. I had put it on a high shelf until I had time to repair it but Cutty realized he could reach that shelf. So the wreath and all of its poor little leaves are having to be put in a bag in my closet. I haven’t found the motivation to fix it yet, maybe closer to Christmas. And this time I will definitely be using a hot glue gun instead of pins (which the cat could easily pull out). Even though it turned into a mess, I don’t regret using the pins. They were helpful since the wreath was an experiment and they kept me from worrying I would make a permanent mistake.  Just an FYI though in case anyone is wanting to make their own. Posting this reminded me that I need to post the pattern for the leaves. Sorry it has taken so long, hopefully I can work on that soon.

On another note. I didn’t really have enough to say about these to make a whole post, but here are some cookies I made for a baby shower. I was sick when I made them so they aren’t my best. However, I thought at least one picture was good enough to share. (sorry I took the picture at 6am before work)

Happy Valentine’s Day

Cutty must have stepped on something, because two days ago we noticed swelling on his right paw. I took him to the vet yesterday and they told me it was an infection. He had to be sedated so they could clean it out and properly dress it. He hates the bandange, but he was nice enough to pose for a photo.

He’s been a real trooper, although with his injury he thinks he must be held AT ALL TIMES!!!!! But this just made for some wonderful cuddle time with him, as both hubby and myself have been battling a nasty virus this week. I am starting to feel better, but hubby went to bed at 7:30 tonight. In any case, Cutty wanted to stop by to tell you all to take time to smell the flowers and remember those you love this Valentine.

Of course this picture was after we had cleaned up the mess he made when he knocked the whole vase of flowers over and spilled water everywhere. . . oh well! Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Dino-baby

About a year ago I started making hat and bib sets for friends’ baby showers. However, when I came up with the idea for this hat I just wasn’t sure how to make a matching bib.

So I decided on a little stuffed dino-baby to go with it. It is my loose interpretation of a stegosaurus, but I like it. I actually didn’t know how it was going to turn out most of the time because I was just making it up as I went. But, now I wish I had taken notes because I think I might like to make another one!

This sweet set was for KB and her newest addition. You might remember I made cookies for her family when they found out they were having another little boy.

We had a little work shower for her over the weekend. My friend PW and I made the cake and cupcakes.

It’s always fun to celebrate happy occasions with friends!

Delicious

Since I had made the crocodile stitch scarf for one of my sisters I had been feeling the urge to complete something for my other sister. It took a while to figure out what it should be, but once I had decided the project almost flew off the hook. I had so much fun making this project. I titled this post delicious because that is how I felt about the yarn. It is Malabrigo Worsted 237 Cuarenta and you can find out more about their fabulous yarns here. They only sell to stores so unfortunately you cannot buy it from their website. However, I am all for supporting your local yarn store.

My photo of the ball I wound (by hand) was blurry, but it is the prettiest one I have ever done so I have to show you anyway.I used a stitch called the box stitch which I learned about here. I looked at a bunch of google images and I think I would like to try this in a solid color as well. I think the texture would be amazing. I like how this project is worked on the diagonal.

The scarf took a little less than two skeins so I had yarn left over for tassels. Not every scarf needs tassels, but I thought they worked for this one.

At this point of the day the sun was going down and the lighting was off. The first two pictures are much more accurate when it comes to the color of the yarn. However, I wanted to show at least one close up of the pattern.

Speaking of delicious. Last night hubby made pasta from scratch. Here it is hanging from a make shift contraption to help the noodles dry a little.

 Then he cooked the fresh noodles with a mushroom sauce and it was. . . you guessed it, Delicious!!! I am one lucky girl.