Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tatting - - Lesson 4

This lesson was about beginning to design. We were given the first row, which we could changed the amount of stitches in the rings and chains, but we had to keep 8 rings, each separated by a chain and it needed to form a flat circle. The only other point was, you could only attach the second row on every other chain, to create some open negative space.

Close-up of my stitches. I think my tension may be a little too snug.

And here is my motif. The second row is made up of circles that get smaller and then larger. It was a bit of a pain to work it out and there are still things I'd change, but it is good for now.

Row 1 : R(4-4-4-4), Ch(6-6), [R(4+4-4-4), Ch 12, R(4+4-4-4), Ch(6-6)] Do a total of 3 times. End with R(4+4-4+4), Ch(12).

Row 2 : Ch(2+2), R(2-2-2), [Ch(6), R(4+6-4), Ch(7), R(6+10-6), Ch(8), R(8+20*2), R(2+20-8), Ch(8), R(6+10-6), Ch(7), R(4+6-4), Ch(6), R(2+2-2), Ch(2+2), R(2+2-2)] Do a total of 3 times. Last Ring(2+2+2) and attach loose ends and finish off.

- Regular size picot
* Tiny picot
-- Large picot
+ Join

Overall feelings about this. It was nice to design, a bit of work, but worth it. I will probably still improve this design. Maybe add some picots to the outside . . . maybe make it have more rows, but for now I am satisfied with how it looks.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Food Friday - Seeing Green

I saw real green tomatoes in the grocery store last week. Now this may sound like a "duh" to some, but where I grew up, we never saw green tomatoes. Any who, I knew right away that I wanted to try to make some fried green tomatoes. I looked online and it seemed most recipes were the same or very similar. So, off I went making some of it up as I went:

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 cup of bread crumbs . . . I decided to use a mixture of cornmeal and bread crumbs. I am not a huge fan of cornmeal on its own, but like the crunch it gives.

I also added 1tsp onion powder and 1tsp ground cayenne pepper

Sliced green tomatoes.

Cover green tomatoes with crumb mixture.

Fried in about 1/4" Vegetable oil. I used veggie oil because it was the most common oil I saw in the recipes. About medium heat.

They fry up quickly, only a few minutes on each side.

I put napkins and then a paper plate over a regular plate to let them drain some. Very yummy! The seasonings were not enough to really make a difference, but still good. Will definitely make again some time . . . maybe with more seasonings though.

The boy didn't care for them, but he's not a big fan of tomatoes in general.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nothing New

Nothing new to post about, just letting you know I am still around.

I have been working a lot on finishing some stuff up and working on my tatting homework. More time consuming this week, but I think I've got it figured out, just need to tat it all up.

School starts next week. . . not completely sure how I feel about it. It's my last semester of classes. I have a scholarship-like-thing to work in the art museum for 50 hours for sum of $500. I have a class that has 30 hours of volunteering with students with special needs. I am taking a full load of five classes. I have work . . . that is already scheduling me more hours than I set as my maximum amount of hours allowed when school is in. I have 3 state tests and 3 or 4 seminars I have to take during the semester.

I was so looking forward to it . . . but it is already overwhelming me and classes don't even begin for 5 more days. I feel like I should set my foot down for work and tell them I really can't go over my maximum that I set . . . otherwise they may keep nudging the line further and further. I guess we will see how the semester goes, I may have to enforce it.

I may have little time for arts and crafts . . . except those in classes I am taking. It's just 16 weeks, right? Is it a sad comfort that the psychiatric place is just to the left of the school? Any who, I will post as much as I can . . . will definitely be around in a better capacity in about 17-ish weeks.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Food Friday - - Jam

Well, for this Food Friday we have my canning experience. I have never canned things before this. Me and the boy had bought a bunch of Nectarines and Plums, well with this warmer weather we've been having, the fruit was too ripe, too quickly. He was just going to throw them away, but I decided this was an opportunity to try making some jam like I have seen many fellow bloggers doing. Yes, I can be a lemming sometimes. So I got twelve 4oz canning jars and a box of pectin and got started.

To begin I roughly cut up about 8 small plums and 5 small nectarines and put them in my food processor.

And puree. I chose to leave the peel on, because I didn't see any real purpose to taking them off. Then this went into a pan, with a half cup of sugar, and the pectin. This was brought to a boil while the jars boiled.

In a frying pan, I put a little over an inch of water and the lids. (This is after they have been washed with hot, soapy water.)

In a regular pot, I put five jars and filled it with water until there was a little over an inch above the jars. (Again, after they have been washed with hot, soapy water.)

I chose to buy the pectin that didn't have to have sugar in it, just because I didn't want to use a lot of sugar in the jam because the fruit was already very ripe and sweet. I added only about a fourth of this pack because I didn't want the jam to be really thick, just somewhat thicker.

When the fruit mixture was ready, I took the jars out of the boiling water and put them on a towel (no cold counters, we don't want shattering jars).

I filled each one, leaving about 1/4" at the top.

After putting the seal and lids on, they go back into the boiling water for 10 minutes.

Of course, there was a little left over and I didn't mind eating it :)

After the 10 minutes were up, I placed a folded towel over a baking sheet and took out the jars to be placed on it. My apartment has very limited counter space, so they sat upon the fridge to cool and set.

Experiment #2
I still had 7 jars left and had enjoyed the canning process, so I decided to get some raspberries and make more jam. Raspberry jam is one of my favorites. I used one 12oz bag of frozen raspberries and two 6oz fresh containers of raspberries. (The frozen were for more economical reasons)

This time, I used the rest of the box of the pectin, deciding that with school starting up I wasn't going to have time to do any more of this. In retrospect, jam came out thicker than I'd like, so I should have just done half the packet.

I had been reading up on some recipes for jams and jellies and found honey jelly, so I decided to use honey as my sweetener instead of sugar. I started out with a small amount and worked my way up until I thought it was the right taste. I ended up using 1 cup of honey.

After the berries got softer with cooking, they were mashed down and cooked to boiling.

I forgot to show with the first experiment, this is what I used for tongs. Just two spoons, carefully positioned.

Again, there was a little left over. Doesn't it just look yummy?

I decided to make a peanut butter and jam sandwich, it was warm, but good.

After 10 minutes of boiling jars, everything wen on the same sheet and together the plum/nectarine jam and the raspberry jam cooled and settled.

I will admit that when the jars made their little popping sound while cooling, I freaked out thinking 'crap, figures I ruined them', until I looked up online and that was the noise you wanted. :) Any how, have tasted both of them and they are delicious. Probably would have made the plum a little thicker and the raspberry not so thick.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tatting - Lesson 3

Well, this lesson took a little longer. More rings to make, plus this wasn't like #2. This was more like #1, where you have to practice to know what to do, it's not just seeing how things look. It's numbers, which I love. I will admit, this lesson I think ended up being a matter of tastes and opinions in a lot of fellow classmates homework. Some of us had the same ring sizes, but ended up with different chain numbers. Tension, appearance, and what is straight came into play in many different ways. Here is my version:

Here we were to make a clover leaf (a three ring shape where all rings are the same size) and figure out what length of chain we would need between each clover leaf. We were to use our rings sizes from the first lesson for comparison. I tried different variations.
Top Left: R(4-/+4-/+4-4) Ch(4-4-4-4) Too short.
Bottom Left: R(4-/+4-/+4-4) Ch(4-4-4-4-4-4) Too long
Top and Bottom Right: R(4-/+4-/+4-4) Ch(4-4-4-4-4) Just perfect. (ran out of thread on the top one and had to begin again.

Here is a close up of the final version.

Here we were suppose to make a trefoil (3 ring shape with different sized rings) and figure out how the chain length would change. This one was harder than I thought.
Top Left: R(4-2-/+2-4), R(4+4-4-4), R(4+2-2-4) Ch(4-3-3-4) My first mistake here was making the joining points too high on the smaller rings, it make the rings pull upward, instead of horizontal. The chain length wasn't right either, it was too short. I had figured since the first part of the lesson needed 1.25 of the bottom rings, so would this one. Wrong.
Middle Left: R(2-4-/+4-2), R(2+6-6-2), R(2+4-4-2) Ch(4-4-4-4-4) Here I lowered the joining point and lengthened the chain to 20, like the one first part of the lesson. But I felt it was too long and I didn't like the way all the picots bunched up.
Bottom Left: R(6-/+4-2), R(2+5-1--1-5-2), R(2+4-6) Ch(6*1-1--1-1*6) I changed the picots around here to be closer and less chaotic. Chain length was also changed 16. I felt this was closer, but the joining picots still weren't quite right.
Right Side: R{(10*2) first time and (6+4*2) afterward}, R(2+5-1--1-5*2), R(2+4*6) Ch(6-4-6) I changed the joining picots to tiny picots, but still felt like the chain was close but not there, so the last two chains have Ch(6-6-6), which ended up being just perfect.

Here is a close up of the last one. You can see how those two extra stitches in the last two chains make it look better.

Immensely enjoyed this lesson, but it was quite time consuming.

- Regular size picot
* Tiny picot
-- Large picot
+ Join
-/+ Picot or join, depending on where in the design

Friday, August 14, 2009

Food Friday

A more simple dinner. This dinner was not complex, but was still quite yummy and I found a product I would definitely recommend.

I used this dressing to bake chicken in at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. I cooked the chicken breast whole and then cut them up after wards.

Here it is plated. After I cut them up, I scooped up left over dressing in the pan and spooned it over the chicken. Served with roasted cauliflower, roasted asparagus, and one of those simple bagged pastas (a creamy garlic).

The main point here was the chicken. I really loved the chicken cooked like this and would definitely make it again. Very soft and flavorful.

P.S. - - - There may be some jam/jelly adventures for next week!

Road blocks

Still working on stuff, it has been happening just right where the boy and I have been awake at the same times due to my weird work schedule, so we've been hanging out, making food and playing video games.

I have a couple magazine review to finish and post. I've been working on tatting homework and finishing up late and very late birthday presents. School starts in about 2.3 weeks, so I want to finish it all up before then because it'll be a busy semester.

My itty-bitty needles arrived today, but I need to finish the above mentioned gifts before I start swatching again.

Lastly, Food Friday may get more interesting as it seems there is a chance that my body has decided to be lactose intolerant now. I know, yippee skippee, right? I am such a dairy lover too. Blah. So next three-ish weeks are spent dairy free . . . completely. It's going to be trying. To see if it is definitely the culprit. Then we slowly work some stuff back in to see just how intolerant I am of dairy. Ugh.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mr. Ribbit

Mr. Ribbit is complete. He now has a face and boy does he seem to think the world is hilarious.

Doesn't he look like he is going to fall back in laughter? Maybe it's just me.

Taking a spin on the exercise bike.

I didn't quite make his eyes the way the pattern said. I only didn't pull up the "eyelid" as far as they said as I didn't think it looked quite right. I like the way it turned out. I only used two lines to make his mouth instead of four. I just adore how happy he looks.

Yarn: Naturally Caron - SPA
Content: 75% acrylic, 25% bamboo rayon
Color: Green Sheen
Care: Wash cold, air dry - - Mr. Ribbit would prefer to just be wiped down with a damp cloth unless some disaster strikes.
Needles: US 2 / 2.75 mm (metal)
Gauge: Not relevant
Pattern: Ribbit from Spud & Chloe, by Susan B. Anderson.

I will be sending this little guy off to my mom, her birthday is today. I will soon be making a larger version of this guy in bulky yarn for my nephew.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Peek-a-boo, I see you

Yes, I am still here, it's been a busier work week. As you can see a post back, I have been busy with tatting homework, and then there is this:

Blue/Gray shifting to a gold color : 100% wool
Orange : Silk/Merino Blend

Heide from Serendipitous Opportuknitty offered some cobweb yarn up about a month ago, she didn't end up liking the yarn because in her words the yarn was too fine for her to see. I was more than willing to try. So I have been swatching, and yes, I realize that I didn't take any pictures of the swatches, sorry. Now I am sure some of you are thinking . . . but you don't even like lace knitting. True and not true.

~Open meshes stockinette created by using needles that are technically too big for the yarn.
~Large projects to carry around.

~Thin yarn.
~Tiny needles.

She also sent this booklet:

It suggests using US 0 or US 1 needles. I thought well, this is perfect. Not quite, I almost always have to go down in size to get gauge and I still thought the US 0 was too loose. So then I tried the smallest needles I own, US 000. This was so very close to what I was looking for, but not quite. So what is a girl to do? Order even smaller needles of course! I'll keep you updated when my new needles arrive and how the swatching goes.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tatting Homework #2

Home work #2 was about picots and joining. Our stitch counts were to remain the same throughout this lesson to see how differently the design was effected.


The first one was to have the least amount of picots required.

Here, there were to be 3 decorative picots. First I chose three picots on the tops of the rings.

Then I tried three picots, 2 on the top of the rings and one in the center of the chain.

Here, there were to be 5 decorative picots.


The first one is joining about the center point. The thing I learned here, is that to join above, may mean your chains need to change length or that your picots may need to be longer depending on your desired effect.

Here it is joined below the center point, using the same sized picots I had been using throughout the other designs.

Here I tried joining below center point, but making the picots minute in size.

I am still enjoying this class so far. I ended up taking a little longer than the rest of the class. But it also makes me want to try out different variations of the lessons, so I definitely think I getting what I need from the class.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Crochet Today!

Crochet Today! issue for September/October 2009. This will be my last review of this magazine for a while, as I believe this is the last issue in my subscription and I will not be renewing my subscription.

Any how, onto the patterns:

~Tin Can Tune-Up - - I like the idea of this, because I think we should reuse items like these instead of simply throwing them away. I like the shell pattern more, but that's just me. This would be a good idea when I become a teacher too. Designer is Linda Permann of Lindamade.

~Upcycled Tee - - Not completely sure how I feel about this. I think the obvious white yarn being attached to the purple shirt looks tacky. Not sure how I'd change that though. I do kind of like the lace part added to it though. Designer is Cal Patch.

~Woodsy Acorn Pots - - Cute as maybe a toy for a child or pet. Anything more than that and I would think the lid/top would need to have the option of being more secure. Designer is Brett Bara(Editor in Chief of this magazine) of Manhattan Craft Room.

~Everyday Dish Cloths - - kind of don't see the point in this. They are basically large swatches. We all know how to do that, we don't need a pattern for that. They can't possibly all that unique of stitches otherwise Crochet Today! would have shown the pattern better in the picture. Designer is Maya Mackowiak Elson(Assistant Editor for this magazine).

~Earth-Friendly Tote - - I don't get this either. How many bazillion market type bags have we already seen? Where is something different? And what about the way the model is holding the bag? It looks like there is nothing but foam blocks in it. Designer is Mary Jan Hall.

~Sunshine and Shade Throw - - I like the motif pattern. It looks simple and yet appealing. Not over done. I think it would look wonderfully delicate in a smaller yarn and hook. Designer is Katherine Eng.

~Lacy River Rocks - - I think this is kind of nifty and kind of tacky. I usually think rocks are interesting enough looking, they don't need to be covered in crochet. It is kind of nifty in a art form way, but why hide the beauty of the rock? Designer is Margaret Oomen of resurrection fern.

~Stellar Motif Tunic - - Well, I do like it. If you read my blog, you know I tend to like things made by Robyn Chachula. I like the motif top. I really so need to make myself a crochet top sometime. I think the cowl neck looks great in contrast with the open work of the motifs. It is tempting. Designer is Robyn Chachula of Crochet by Faye.

~Basketweave Capelet - - WTF? How is this thing even remotely flattering? It looks like she has the upper body of a linebacker. Unfortunately, I have nothing nice to say about this design. Designer is Mari Lynn Patrick.

~Ripple Cloud Afghan - - I don't care for this one either. It looks sloppy and quickly put together with no thought of how the item looks. Even the shapes are not pleasing to the eye. It's ridiculous. Designer is Marty Miller of not your granny's crochet.

~Raspberry Beret - - Not a beret person, but it does look like one of the better fitting crochet beret patterns I have seen. Designer is Linda Permann of Lindamade.

~Saved by the Bell - - I think this is a cute clock toy. It is simple and neat looking. Let's face it, it is also kind of adorable. Designer is Samantha Wilson.

~Perfect Fall Cardi - - It is okay, but the sleeves seem a little big/baggy on her. The sweater would probably look better crocheted in a finer yarn, not so holey. Designer is Candi Jensen.

~School Spirit Afghan - - Nice, but nothing special. Designer is Bobbi Anderson.

~His Best Vest - - A cute little vest. Was concerned that it wouldn't look as cute on a boy in regular clothing, but this post on the designers blog shows it can look cute in regular clothing too. Simple and nice. Designer is Ellen K. Gormley of Go Crochet.

~Floaty Fall Scarf - - I like this. Cute and simple. Designer is Susan Jeffers.

~Pretty Pencil Case - - I like this, mostly because I love pencil cases that have this shape. I adore it. I love that the designer has enough faith in the magazine's readers to use a zipper in this piece. Don't be surprised if you see this as a Wip and hopefully an FO on the blog sometime. Designer is Mary Jane Hall of mjcrochet.

~Ghoulish Candy Bag - - It is cute. A nice little candy basket/bag for kids. Designer is Regina Rioux Gonzalez of Monster Crochet.

~Crafty Disguises - - Even though the picture shows one, there are actually two kinds of mustaches and a mask. I think these would be cute things for dress up, etc. with little kids. They seem easy enough to make and quick. Designer is Linda Permann of Lindamade.

~Trick or Treat Blanket - - It's okay, but doesn't necessarily do anything for me. I tend to like blankets more where designs are worked into the object and not appliqued on. Designer is Alison Grenier.

~Halloween Hats - - Cute, probably more of a dress up thing than a Halloween thing. Designer is Regina Rioux Gonzalez of Monster Crochet.

Overall, there are some neat items in here, but it's basically the same reasons as before as to why I will not continue my subscription. The designs mostly aren't jump out and grab me type of designs. Again, but not as much this time there are multiple projects made by the same designer. It just doesn't seem to really be going anywhere. It's too bad.

Now, off to sleep.