Baby Gifts

I feel like all fall I have been knitting baby gifts! I enjoy making things for babies. I mean the stuff is cute and each item is little so it takes less time to have a nice finished object. However, between school and all the baby showers I haven’t had much time for my own knitting. I also haven’t been blogging because I had to wait for the gifts to be given before I could reveal a lot of these things.

First, this one made me giggle. My friend asked for this hat because her little boy is going to be born around Thanksgiving (still I had to laugh at myself while I knitted each turkey leg). This is the pattern.

The next project I completely forgot to get  a picture of! It was a bib made from this pattern, which is just fabulous. I made the bib yellow with a contrasting orange neck-tie. I added a monarch butterfly appliqué in the left lower corner (ironed and sewn on because a baby bib needs to be durable enough to throw in the washer). I am kicking myself for not getting a picture but I wanted to mention it anyway because I enjoyed the pattern so much.

This was the most recent gift. I think the picture makes it look a little red like a tomato, but in real life it is a beautiful magenta. I was trying to go for a strawberry. I thought about adding seeds but that would require me to carry the yarn in the back which seems uncomfortable for baby’s head, or do a lot of cutting and weaving in of ends, which sounded awful. When I saw the finished product I actually really liked it the way it was, so that is the way it stayed. (here is the pattern)

The shower for the baby getting the strawberry hat had a “sugar and spice” theme (so cute). So I made some sugary cookies to go along with it. Again, almost forgot to take a picture so please forgive the quality of the shot that I took after I had already packed them up to go to the shower.

I have made progress on my other two projects. I am still loving the pendulum although all of the garter stitch is kind of monotonous. I think the fact that I keep changing colors keeps it interesting. I like this project because I can pick it up for a few minutes at a time and not have to put much thought into it.

I am a bit embarrassed about the next one. About a month ago I turned the heel on my first Kalajoki sock and then put it down and haven’t picked it up again. It’s not that I don’t like the pattern, I have actually really enjoyed working it! It just isn’t quite so easy to pick up for a few minutes at a time and so with all of the other projects going on it has gotten neglected.  Maybe by winter break things will calm down and I can finish this sock and its partner.

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Catch Up

This may have been the least relaxing summer of my life. I don’t know that I had a single day in the whole month of July to do exactly what I wanted and nothing else. I didn’t completely realize how busy it was until today when I did only things I wanted to do. It was heavenly.

I did squeeze in some things that were fun though.

This was Jack.

This was Liz (deciding she was tired of me taking pictures)

They were some of the best kittens we have had since Cutty. Hopefully they have already found forever homes.

I baked a pie.

It was made from fresh peaches and blueberries from the farmer’s market. I used a tutorial I found on The Pioneer Woman’s website for homemade crust. It was fabulous.

I tried my hand at knitting two socks at a time on two circulars. At first it seemed to be taking forever to make any progress because I was doing everything twice.

But then at the end it was totally worth it because when I finished them I was finished with BOTH of them! I will definitely do this again.

Then I made a pair of socks and coordinating hat for baby J and my friend AO’s baby shower. I totally failed at taking pictures. This is the only one I have of the set. I did my first crocheting in a long time to make the bear. I used a pattern for the socks and hat but the bear I made up as I went along. It is truly one of  a kind. (and this was my first time working with Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino and I am in love with it)

There were cookies at the shower, too. They were the first ones since the graduation. Maybe I have lost my cookie mojo.

I also found some new blogs. This one (fieldwonderful) inspired me to make these Kalajoki socks. You can see the river pattern starting on my first sock. I chose a blue green since the pattern is based on rivers- original I know. But I truly love what fieldwonderful did with the yellow. Plus she is a fellow Kentucky girl! Yay!

I am branching out and have decided to have two projects going at once. This is different for me because I usually make myself finish one before I start another. However, I wanted something simple and mindless going while I was trying to read a charted pattern for the first time so . . .

I cast on for a shawl called pendulum last night.

So how am I going to end my hectic summer? By starting grad school in 10 days. You know, ’cause it seemed like a good idea at the time.

A long, long time ago . . .on graduation day

Bonus life points if you know the song that the title of this post is referencing.

So a long time ago (like a month ago) my youngest sister graduated from highschool. I made some of her favorite things into cookies. So many cookies that I haven’t had the desire to even touch a cookie cutter in over a month. However, I would gladly do it all over again because she is such an awesome sister. (Disclaimer: my middle sister is awesome, too. She just didn’t graduate from anything this year)

You may have noticed a theme with some of my posts about MGC and her love for Star Trek. See this one and this one. In fact she loves Star Trek so much Zachary Quinto, a.k.a. Spock in the latest movie version, came to her party.

Hubby and I got her this life sized cardboard cut out a few years ago for Christmas. It took a long time before I could walk by her room and not freak out that there was some random man standing in there. I don’t even notice him any more.  I don’t know which is worse.

Anyway, here are the cookies to go with Mr Spock.

Huge thanks to Sugarbelle for her wonderful tutorials!

I also had to do a set of Harry Potter cookies because that obsession started before she even knew what the Starship Enterprise was.

However, the most important cookies were the ones of the thing she loves more than anything in the whole wide world. He is only about 5 pounds but he is a huge part of her life.

Meet my cookie version of Brutus (yes she named her teeny tiny dog Brutus).

And no the cookies weren’t red, white and blue for memorial day. We apparently went to the most patriotic high school in America (believe it or not the school colors are for the French flag because it was named after the French General Lafayette).

Congratulations MGC!

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!!!

Cookie Lesson

I was asked to give a cookie lesson. Me. I am soooooooo not the expert, but I agreed because we would be doing it at her house and she was baking the cookies. All I had to do was show up and decorate. Armed with the few little pieces of advice I have, I headed over to try and help.

She had made a bunch of fabulous cut-out cookies.

We started with how each time I try to decide on the least number of colors I can use to still have interesting and adequately detailed cookies. Since we were just learning we decided on white, pink, red and black (there were lots of hearts so the first three might have been adequate, but the black would help with the little scottie dog cookies) I am all about saving on clean up later.

I shared my favorite icing recipe from Bake at 350.  I have tried several but this one is so simple I can remember it without having to look at it. It also gives me pretty consistent results.

Here are a few I came up with.

And here are some of hers. (One of the best was the cutest little white scottie dog and that picture turned out totally blurry! Sorry, still getting used to the new camera)

I will be honest, she didn’t need much teaching. She is quite talented. However, I know I didn’t do a great job imparting wisdom because we were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a long time and we were a little more interested in catching up on things.

One of the best parts was her sweet three year old who was busying himself with playdough and dinosaurs next to us.

So maybe I’m not the best teacher, but I hope this morning was a good place to start. If nothing else I was able to share some of the fabulous resources that are out there for cookie decorators! (See some of the blogs I follow on the right side of the page)

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!