Super Sekret Christmas Gifts COMPLETE!

Yellow, Hobbes #2: COMPLETE!! ^_^

     

I’m the tiniest bit bummed that Yellow Hobbes didn’t turn out the same size as Original Hobbes — this would be due to the fact that I didn’t realize the yellow yarn I had in my stash wasn’t actually worsted weight like the recently purchased orange.

Side note for future reference: the random yarns you chose from your stash without first looking at the labels (on the assumption that all your yarn is the same weight) probably means that you are going to be in for a bit of a surprise in the end. Let this be a lesson learned. 

Refashion? Upcycle? What??

So I’ve been spending far too much time on Pinterest lately. That website is probably the most amazing place you could ever log into to lose yourself without even realizing it.

Usually it starts off as a search for something rather boring, and then all of a sudden you see something out of the corner of your eye and you’re immediately sent down the rabbit hole to the next pin that catches your attention.

Seriously. If you have problems with shinies, be warned. You’ll be gone before you even know it.

Anyhow, during this magical foray into the world of never ending Pinterest links, I discovered the terms ‘refashion’ and ‘upcycling’. Both words essentially mean taking an old discarded object that’s of no use to you in its present state, and recycling it into something new — potentially making a better and more useful item than its previous iteration. At least that’s my definition of the concept.

I’ve noticed that upcycling is usually used for discarded items like shipping pallets, wine crates, old gutters, old shelving and other hardware types of things. The item(s) are combined with other bizarrely useless items, combined together, given a new coat of paint, and then it’s now considered magically transformed “up” into something brand spanking new of better use & value to its owner.

It’s all in the eye of the beholder, remember. I mean there are some pretty cool project ideas out there if you’re into the whole DIY thing, of which I totally am and I am totally going to put all the blame on my Dad for this one. He’s the one that I probably take after in the department of scouring junk shops for stuff I can turn into something more fun. TheHubbs on the other hand, for some reason, isn’t so keen.

One of my favourite examples that is super easy and I think happens to be super cute, are cake stands. I absolutely love the idea of being able to make my own unique & one of a kind cake stand! One of these days I’ll get around to going to a thrift store to find some magical one off pieces to make myself something sweet.

You probably have a pretty good idea by now as to what the term refashion means if you apply the above concept to similarly recycling old clothes which are no longer loved or of any use. Second hand shops are obviously veritable gold mines for clothing that one can refashion into a garment that is by far much nicer than its original state.

So far my favourite idea has been simply taking an old, unloved, no longer worn, mens sweater and with a few deft snips of scissors, maybe a pass or two with the sewing machine and you’ve now got yourself a lovely cardigan.

Seriously!

With fall fast approaching (I’m pretty sure I felt the stirrings of season change this afternoon while I was out and about doing labs) I’m really excited to start wearing sweaters. This will be the first year in a really long time that I might actually be cold enough to wear one since we dropped my steroid levels at the beginning of the year. Guys, this is HUGE news!

Anyhow, so I’m sitting here at the kitchen table with one of TheHubbs’ old sweaters that he no has absolutely no desire to ever wear again and gave me permission to sacrifice it for the purpose of attempting my first refashion into a cardigan-ish type of garment.

To be honest, I dunno that it’s going so well.

If I was smart, I would just do what everyone else does and take a pair of scissors to just make a few deft cuts, add a couple seams and be done with it. But no. I’m not that kina girl. In my head, it seems to be that I apparently need to take a seam ripper to this bad boy in attempts of salvaging as much of the sweater’s shape & form as possible to reduce the amount of actual cutting I might need to do… except that it’s probably going up in flames at the moment, as right now it looks like the collar of this thing isn’t actually a separate piece tacked on, but in fact is part of the main body folded over itself and sewn into place..

GAH!!!! *panic!!*

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I. WILL. MAKE. THIS. WORK. DAMNIT!!

Wish me luck ^_^;;

I just had an idea..!

So, I was talking to a girlfriend this evening about ‘biscuits’. The conversation had stemmed from an earlier Facebook discussion about how someone had found frozen Red Lobster biscuits at Costco and they were all excited by the discovery. (Side note: Why does everyone get so hot & bothered about Red Lobster biscuits??)

My opinion on most commercially made biscuits is that they are truly unfit for human consumption, especially when compared to a wonderfully hot, fresh from the oven, specimen slathered with butter, so that it’s all melting into the cracks & crevices.

The thing I wonder about is: Could I do a similar thing with my own homemade biscuit dough recipe? Meaning — make the recipe in its entirety, but freeze the biscuits solid before baking them and then stash them in the freezer to pull out only a few at a time for the meal that we want to eat them with versus making a whole batch that languishes and eventually stales.

The idea seems to have promise, I am doubtful that it would require any more than an extra 5 minutes time to bake them off from frozen, which would certainly cut down the time it takes to make them from start to finish from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no issue with making a batch of herby-cheesy biscuits from scratch, but right now my brain is completely locked on thinking about the need to make as many freezer meals as possible before Round #2 starts up again next month.

Oh and also: I really need to make proper use of the vacuum sealer I got for Christmas last year! I’m going to start transferring out all those frozen soup popsicles from their original containers (quick run under hot water to slip the frozen soup block out) and then pop them straight into the vacuum bags, seal them up, label them properly so they’re legible again, and then toss them back into the deep freeze so I can have more containers to use for freezing the newest batch of soup.

Autumn is slowly making itself known which means that Soup Season is fast approaching which is compounding my panic about not having enough freezer meals stashed before Round #2. GAH!

Looks like a good plan for Friday, and into the weekend, would be to make & freeze:

  • Chicken-vegetable soup
  • Chicken stew
  • Ducky ragu for spaghetti
  • Batch of ready-to-bake herby-cheesy drop biscuits

Sounds like a relatively decent plan… now I just have to make sure to have enough caffeine on hand to get me through the weekend. Wish me luck.

Super Sekret Halloween Project: COMPLETE!

Ignore the middle one – that was my first attempt and it turned out exceedingly poorly. It’s destined to be “cook’s treat” that I will be sharing tonight with The Hubbs whilst waiting for Trick’or’Treaters to make their rounds ^_^

I had to alter my original idea, as you can see from the remaining apples, and ended up doing what you see above: caramel wrapped apples, top ½ painted with melted chocolate, ring of “Halloween” coloured smarties, attacked by a gummy worm coming out oreo cookie crumb “dirt” which was sprinkled on the exposed chocolate to cover, before letting to set.

It’s better than I had hoped, but not as good as I had originally wanted :P

I hope The Hubbs’ nieces & nephew like them for this year’s special Halloween treat & gift to them.

Happy Halloween! ^_^

Candy Cane Spiceworm Gloves — way overdue update!

Over the weekend I had the urge to work on a new crochet project and decided that I wanted to work on something that was created just for me.

In the process of trying to come up with something that piqued my interest, I remembered that I still had my unfinished Candy Cane Spiceworm Gloves that I had started way back in 2010.

2010!

It’s been almost three whole years since I began the project and I still can’t believe it. o_O;; It just seems so weird to read, and realize all that time has passed on paper, yet it does not physically feel like it’s been three years. Where does time go? It’s such a bizarre concept to think about time escaping to somewhere unknown, somewhere untraceable by the mind…

Anyhow, I managed to get back into the swing of working on the gloves pretty quickly — it only required a few replays of the original technique video of the pattern, I loosely based my gloves on — and now I am rather proud to say that I’ve almost completed my first mitten in its entirety! It’s still in need of a thumb, but it looks and feels pretty fantastic considering all the tedious work that came from making each individual thrum!

Candy Cane Spiceworm Gloves, minus thumb
Candy Cane Spiceworm Gloves, minus thumb

The biggest concern from the get-go for this pattern was that this yarn is so bulky and there’s so little per ball (50g/60m) that I thought I may be screwed. I only have 4 balls on hand and I had bought it back when K1C2 was having their going out of business clearance sale, eons ago, so there’s no chance of buying more should I need it.

This stuff is so beautifully soft and squishy but I was pretty sure I didn’t have enough to complete both gloves. What I had originally decided to do was to allocate 2 balls of yarn per mitten, hoping to get the body completely finished to the fingertips and then use some other similarly massive, bulky & squishy yarn to finish the thumbs – in fact, if you recall the green yarn I used for my first ever blanket project, the Expensive Woolly Blanket of Doom from waaaaaaaay back in 2007(!!), I still have some of that left. believe it or not. So I thought I would make the thumbs green.

Turns out, the 4 balls of yarn that I have is enough to complete the mittens in their entirety! I’ve finished the body of mitten #1 and there’s still about 1/3 of the second allocated ball remaining (for this mitten) to make the thumb!

I’m so thrilled that I will be able to complete the mittens in all the same colour instead of having to make that colour change I had originally planned for the thumbs. I am a little disappointed that the thrums are so janky-looking in the spots where you can see I started to decrease each round for the mitten top, but I can’t really complain too much since this was my first attempt at making a mitten without being able to properly read a mitten pattern (or any visual pattern, for that matter) in the first place.

Cross your fingers I’ll be able to remember how I originally started the pattern when I begin mitten #2 in the very near future.

 

Oups I did it again…

Man, I miss writing.

I don’t know what happened over the last nine months or so, but writing was far, far, far away from my list of things that I wanted to do.

Having surgery last October took it out of me and everything that came after it was just too tiring to consider. I’m not feeling any better at the moment in regards to my health, but I am feeling a little more inclined to write.

The thing is, there was so much I wanted to write about, I just didn’t have the energy to sit down and formulate coherent thoughts about everything I wanted to write about. Most of it pertained to food, some of it pertained to projects and even some still had to do with SALLY & Co.

So what should I do?

How about I start by making this a massive photo-dumping post (because that’s always fun!) and then I could just see how things play out over the next little while.

Sound good? Good.

So without further ado, here we go!

X-Garden Update

This is what our raised bed garden currently looks like, as of about a couple weeks ago. We had a return of bees to our formerly empty hive! For the longest time we had bees and wasps coming into the hive and ransacking whatever was remaining from the previous colony’s stores of honey after realizing we had no bees. As of a few weeks ago, we now have a proper colony of bees again and the ladies are working their little butts off to get enough new stores before the winter hits. Hopefully they will be more successful than their predecessors, who, unfortunately, we were told, had gone into the winter without a viable Queen.

The Hubbs is also beginning the slow process of being mentored in the arts of beekeeping, as we will be the ones taking care of this hive as best we possibly can. Sadly, J & Miss R are no longer going to be doing the bee thing as they lost almost all their hives over the winter, except for maybe two or three of the many they had set up around the city. The Hubbs wants to make sure he can do everything in his power to help this colony survive as there have been so many colonies of bees which have been decimated from all sorts of horrible things. We have been planting as many bee-friendly flowers as we possibly can in hopes that it helps the Little Ladies to flourish.

As for other 2013 Garden Experiments, at the beginning of the summer I had purchased some corn transplants from our fantastic egg & flour CSA farms. Again, a few weeks back, is a photo of the corn’s girly bits readying itself for pollination from surrounding corn plants. Unbeknownst to me at the time, you’re supposed to plant corn in squares to increase the chances of cross-pollination in your corn. The wind is the biggest pollinator for corn and the more chances you give the corn’s silks to catch the falling pollen from above, the better odds of having actual cobs of corn with fully developed kernels on it. We shall see if we get any viable specimens this year, seeing as I only had four transplants and was sexing up all the corn by hand.

One night over dinner, we were discussing my new discovery of corn pollination with J & Miss R and everyone had the mental picture of me going around the garden “sexing up my girly corn bits with boy corn bits”, J said we should play the song “It’s raining men” around the garden to get the corn in the mood for pollination ;D

X-Garden Corn

Well, I finally finished my first crocheted commission projects. Ladies & Gentlemen, I introduce to you Peep and the Lumpy Space Princess.

X-Peep & LSP

I am currently working on Loki for my newest Project #Ranma! Amigurumi and will actually be making a second one in the near future for another commissioned project for a friend of The Hubbs’ in Vancouver.

X-Loki Bits

Now that The Hubbs & I are taking over the beekeeping responsibilities (okay, more The Hubbs, than I, but still!), The Hubbs had some very grave concerns that I might have a serious allergic reaction should I ever be stung because we’re not entirely sure what SALLY’s done to my immune system’s ability to deal with things like foreign substances in my body. The other thing is that we’re not entirely sure if The Hubbs has allergies to stings, either. So as a precautionary measure, we got me a couple of prescriptions for an Epi-pen. HOLY JEEBUS these things are terrifyingly huge! The sight of it even terrifies me and I’m pretty used to needles and scary pokey things now o_O;;

X-Epi Pen

From our wonderful 2013 CSA delivery, we have a first: CANTALOUPE! Homegrown in Alberta! I find that absolutely amazing and it tastes pretty damn fantastic, I have to admit and I am almost considering the idea of naming it my favourite melon… almost.

X-CSA 2013 Cantaloupe

Whilst shopping last week, I stumbled upon this brand new tea: Dark Chocolate Chai. Mmmmm…. so incredibly yummy and is great when used as a base for making steel-cut oatmeal, believe it or not! How, you ask?

* Bring to a boil 1cup milk + 1 1/4 cup water + squeeze of honey with 2 teabags.
* Turn down heat to simmer and add 1/2cup steelcut oats.
* Cook for 5 minutes, remove teabags.
* Continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occassionally!

X-Chocolate Chai

Finally, my last photo of today’s post: 1L of iced teaccino. The weird thing? Even though it’s a 1L mason jar, it’s not actually a lot of caffeine. There’s a full tray of ice, a small cup of strongly brewed rooibos tea, a large espresso and finally a 1/2 glass of milk.

X-Teaccino

First Commissioned Amigurumi: COMPLETE!

I have to admit, I am pretty impressed.

I’m pretty impressed that I made this from a pattern that I managed to put together myself.

Would I ever consider doing this again? Maybe. I guess it depends upon whether it would be worth my time & effort.

This little guy is Peep and he was based upon the logo of a small at-home business.

The owner is actually someone I used to work with when we were both still massage therapists. Life has certainly changed for both of us. I just hope that the finished amigurumi exceeds her expectations when she sees it for the first time in person.

Below are just a few pics of Peep from different angles.

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