Peacock Scarf

I have been dying to share this one with you! However, it was a Christmas gift for a sister who reads the blog and I had to wait. As soon as I saw this stitch I knew what I had to do with it! Although Hubby said it looked like dragon scales (and it is called the crocodile stitch) I thought with the right colors it might look like feathers!I wanted yarn a step up from the acrylic I use for amigurumi but I didn’t want it to be too scratchy and wooly since it was a scarf and would be near her face. I picked this yarn from Michael’s and was pleasantly surprised with how it felt to work with and the results I got with it. It is from Caron’s Naturally Caron line Country. The best part is that the name of the color I picked is Peacock! It was a sign! At the time I was buying it I got two skeins (which was silly because this stitch is kind of a yarn hog) thinking if I needed more they would surely still have the same dye-lot left. Of course when I went back they didn’t. What to do. . .

I decided that part of the peacock’s beauty is in the multiple colors in the feathers so I picked a nice green and spent a lot of time trying to decide how to incorporate it. I decided to place it on the ends to go for symmetry.

Looking at it now I think I was lucky they ran out of that dye-lot! I really like the combination of colors.

I think they look like elegant feathers. Hubby says he still likes to pretend they are dragon scales.

Just Something I Whipped Up Last Night

I was just fiddling around with a cable pattern and I thought, if I keep going with this I could make an ear-warmer-headband-thing to wear into work.

What do you think of the buttons? They were the last two from a set I had left over, so there was no thought put into the color. I think the two buttons instead of one keeps it from stretching too much where the pieces overlap. However, the buttons are so small that sometimes the crochet loops slip off them.

I think I like it. I loved the way it worked up. The pattern was easy and once I got the hang of it I could zone out and watch the cheesy Christmas Mystery Movie on TNT (I’m not proud I watched it, but it was the perfect thing to watch while crocheting).

I maybe won’t wear it all the time, but it is definitely good enough for the cold walk into work.

Last of the Christmas Cookies. . .or so I thought

Not a lot of words this time, pretty self-explanatory.

Ornaments.

Christmas lights (kind of love these).

Wreaths. This was another cookie I didn’t think I would like but then ended up being pleasantly surprised with them. Recently I had been struggling with making my icing too runny and for this batch I ended up with icing that was too stiff. You can’t tell in the picture, but it was really frustrating to decorate with.

Not the most cohesive group of cookies, but they are festive and edible and that’s what counts!

So this was my last group from the 8 dozen cookies I had made earlier. However, as we speak there are cookies in the oven. I made some more candy pieces because those seem to be really popular (they are smaller so I think people reach for them first) and some small circles. I had icing left over and just couldn’t let it go to waste.

Hubby said I have a cookie addiction. I told him I’ll take that as a compliment.

Stockings and Candy

As promised here are the stockings and candy from the last post. I didn’t think I would like the stockings. In fact as I sat down to decorate them I was kind of baffled at what to do. However, I think I like them.

I think what made the cookies is the textured “fur” at the top.

People have been super impressed by the pieces of candy which makes me smile because they are super easy. Flood with white icing. Make asterisk (*) shape with colored icing and then swirl colors with toothpick. SUPER EASY!

And here is the group shot again, just because it is one of my favorite sets this season.

I decorate the last of the Christmas Cookies this week!

Cookie Ornament!

This post isn’t about a cookie becoming an ornament, but about an ornament that inspired a cookie!

Each year my mom picks ornaments for us that represent what we have been doing for the past year. This was the year I began decorating cookies!!!! Of course as soon as I saw this ornament I thought what a cute tree and how can I turn it into a real cookie?! Then everyone laughed at me because I have turned into such a big cookie dork.

The tree cutter I have is four parts, not three, so I alternated with each tree whether the dark or light green would be on top. I had read somewhere ( I honestly cannot remember where) that you should start with the darkest color first, let it dry as much as possible, and then add the lighter colors to avoid bleeding. Don’t know if it’s true, but that is how I’ve been doing it.

I wish I could show you lots of “in-progress” pictures, but it became dark outside and my camera is not good struggles with low light situations, so here is the after shot from the next time there was daylight.

In the next group shot you can see a feathering effect on the Christmas Tree in front. This is done with a paintbrush “pulling” the icing and I love it! I had seen it before to make flowers, but when I saw it done on a tree by Ali Bee I knew I had to try it. I will definitely be using this technique again.

Next Post: Stockings and Christmas Candy!

Copycat Cookies

In my last post I shared some cookies by Sugarbelle. I fell in love with them the minute I saw the original post. I thought I would change it up with a nice mint green instead of the pink she used for accents. A few days ago I showed how I used a cookie cutter to make an imprint in the dough for easier icing later. It worked out just like I hoped.

I filled them and then added dots, since I didn’t have any of the nice sprinkles or drages she used.

I wasn’t too sure about them. Some of them looked OK, but some just looked odd. I didn’t know if I had picked the wrong color or if I just wasn’t as talented as Sugarbelle (that is a silly statement because I am obviously nowhere near as talented as her). To check out the color theory I started working on the coordinating cookies.

Here are some of the chevrons (I am going to be honest, I loved what she did and I totally just tried to make the set myself. Someday I will be experienced and confident enough to come up with my own creative ideas. Until then all credit for these cookies goes to Sugarbelle)

I was really good and really waited hours between layers. Usually I am too excited/impatient to wait and end up paying the price with bleeding colors, etc.

Hubby thought the reason I didn’t feel great about some of the cookies was the fact that on a few of them there was too much negative space (i.e., not enough of the tree and too much white).

Here is the completed set:

I will honest and say I wasn’t thrilled. The colors work better when you see all the cookies together, but it is nowhere near as cute as the original pink cookies. Some of it I am sure was poor technique. But either way I didn’t feel like taking many more pictures. Oh well, I guess this means I’ll just have to keep practicing 🙂

The important thing is they taste fine and will be eaten tomorrow when my mom’s family gets together for Christmas.

9 Cups of Flour Later. . .

I started my holiday cookies today. I decided to follow Bakeat350 ‘s advice and bake all my cookies ahead of time. I will decorate them in batches later. I didn’t think to take pictures until most of the damage was done.

I was extremely excited to use my new cookie cutters, a wrapped candy, an ornament, and a Christmas light. I got them here.

I was even more excited to try this technique from Sweetsugarbelle (this link takes you to a blog where she did a guest post). The technique uses a tree cookie cutter to imprint on the dough. When it is baked, the indentation is still there making it super easy to color in with icing!!! Here are the baked cookies.

Sorry for the blurry picture (a new camera is on my Christmas wish list!)

Here are all the cookies ready to be stored until I am able to decorate them. I will leave them out for the next few days and then the ones I am not able to decorate until later I will freeze.

So, 9 cups of flour, 6 sticks of butter, 3 cups of sugar, 3 eggs and some vanilla and almond extract later. . . this is what 8 dozen cookies looks like. I am afraid it won’t be enough!

Kitten Pile

Our two foster kittens go back to the shelter tomorrow. They will have their surgeries and then be ready to be adopted into their forever homes! Whoever gets these two little guys will be super lucky. These two have more than enough personality and curiosity to be really entertaining, but they both also love to cuddle and purr on your lap.

Tonight I walked into the bedroom to find them in a kitten pile. Of course now that it is time to go, they all seem to be getting along perfectly. They never seemed to have too much trouble, but now they are all BFF’s.

I think Cutty will be happy to have his Mommy and Daddy all to himself again, but I think there will be a large part of him that misses his little buddies.

On that note, if anyone out there is going to be giving a kitten or puppy (or dog or cat) as a Christmas present. . . . GO TO YOUR LOCAL SHELTER! They have so many animals who are dying to be part of your forever family 🙂

O Christmas Tree

Last week I put up a beautiful tree.  The tree has had a rough week. It started with the little guys noticing the things close to the ground. They pulled a little bit of the strand of lights off and batted it around. We put the lights back on the tree and tried to distract them with other shiny objects.

Then they noticed all the red and gold ornaments we had so kindly placed on the tree for their enjoyment (at least that is how I hear it in my head, “oh look mom and dad put some toys on here for us”)

Next they discovered if they batted the ornament off the tree it made a really fun toy to play with on the ground.

For some reason hubby and I thought that when an ornament was hit off the tree we should replace it up a little higher. Then the kittens realized they could climb the tree. This kitten was above my head when I took the picture.

I have an after picture (didn’t think to take a before). You can see all of the ornaments above waist level, although we have since discovered it makes not one bit of difference.

 It’s hard to see, but the gold bead garland my sister so carefully placed in concentric circles around the tree is now a jumbled mess. The whole tree is kind of a mess. But then I turn the tree lights on and the room lights off and the glow is still wonderfully festive.

Finally, when the kittens are done climbing in the tree and have worn themselves out they settle into a kitten pile of purring in one of our laps and it really doesn’t matter that the tree isn’t perfect any more.