Saturday, February 27, 2010

Feeling productive.

I woke up before 5 am yesterday to check on NJ Transit and see if the snow was causing delays. As of that time, there were no major delays listed, so I went ahead and got ready for work. By the time I'd finished getting ready, all of Northern NJ's buses had been suspended and school had been cancelled. So Pi and I stayed home again.

Since I was up and ready, going back to sleep wasn't really an option for me. Once I'm up, I'm up! So, I figured I'd make the most of my time.

While my family slept, I finished up another Molly Monkey that I started a few days ago for a little neighbor who is turning 5 today. Her socks, sleeves, skirt, and body were made entirely from scraps. The brown is leftover corduroy from that last Molly (I think there's enough to make one more too!). This project is awesome for scrap busting!

She should actually be called Maddie Monkey, because that's my neighbor's name. The tiny embroidered "M" personalizes the gift just a little more.

Her shoes (and beret) are made from leftover pink felt from Pi's Halloween costume. Yellow buttons tie in the yellow from the skirt and the embroidery. I hope Maddie enjoys her.

After finishing that up, I decided to try a recipe I saw over at Knit Circus for Challah bread. Pi and I lived in a hasidic Jewish neighborhood for 5 years and were introduced to a lot of the foods they eat regularly. Challah bread has always been one of my favs, so when I saw the recipe I got really excited.

It looked intimidating, but it was honestly so so easy. The hardest part was the kneading. It came out slightly crunchy and golden on the outside and slightly flaky on the inside. Mmmmmm!!!

I'm feeling pretty productive and I like it. Its good to get things finished and try something new too. Today isn't shaping up to be that productive. I think I might curl up with a book today.

Happy Saturday peeps!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dear Snow

You can stop now. Plskthx.
-Not Fondly,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

All done

The biopsy went well. The doctor was late and had me waiting over an hour, which just about killed my nerves. The procedure was uncomfortable but not too terrible. The doc warned me when the real pain/cramping would come and it lasted about 10 seconds. I won't hurt, but not as bad as I expected. The best way I can describe it is like a severe contraction while in labor.

I'm in no rush to repeat it, but I'm glad its all done. Thanks for the good thoughts and prayers. I'll let you know when the results come in.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Peanut Buttery Goodness

Not a whole lot going on in the home front lately. Pi's had a cold for the last few days and we kept her home from school today. She's so congested, she sounds like a miniature Darth Vader while she's sleeping.

Over the weekend, I noticed this lonely bag of peanut butter chips in the cabinet. Hubby had bought them on sale awhile ago, when he was also getting chocolate chips. I wanted to use them up, but wasn't sure how. Google to the rescue!

This Peanut Butter cake recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor looked good, so I went with that. The cake is good, but doesn't have that "wow" factor, so I'm not sure I'd make it again unless its requested. After it was all frosted, I sprinkled peanut butter chips on top instead of crushed peanuts. It was only then that I realized I didn't need the whole bag for this recipe and so still had the problem of using up the chips. D'oh!

Looks more like a spike cake, eh?

A little more searching landed me at this Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chip Cookies. The only adjustment I made was to add a tablespoon of peanut butter right in the dough. They are amazing (and disappearing at an alarming rate)! Definite wow factor here.

On the crafty front, I made three more calorimetries for co-workers who decided they had to have one. They're made with good old RHSS. Are you sick of seeing these yet?

In other news, I'm scheduled for an endometrial biopsy tomorrow morning. The doc has some ideas about what might be causing my girlie issues, but she needs a biopsy to confirm her suspicions. She doesn't suspect anything malignant, so nothing to get too alarmed over yet. But I am nervous about the procedure (and the pain!), so if you wouldn't mind a quick prayer/good wishes/happy thought, I'd appreciate it much.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Meet Molly Monkey

Back in November, I was browsing through craft blogs and saw this adorable (and free!) Molly Monkey pattern by Larissa at mmmcrafts. I bookmarked it because I didn't think I'd be able to make a stuffed animal just yet. I've looked at the pattern a few times over the last few months, but kept talking myself out of trying it.

This past week, I bought some brown corduroy (2.5 yards for $5!) at a winter fabric clearance sale in the hopes of making a simple skirt. After it was all cut out, I was left with a fair amount of scraps.

Molly calls for corduroy, so I checked to see if I had enough to make her and I did. I figured that for $5, I was already going to get a skirt out of the fabric. If I messed it up, not a whole lot would be lost, so what was the harm in using the scraps to give this stuffie a try?

I'm so glad I did because I love her! Meet Molly Monkey, my first sewn stuffed animal.

A dragonfly button in light green matched the floral fabric in her skirt nicely.

A purple butterfly button played up the purple in the skirt.

The body, sleeves, socks, and skirt were made from quilting scraps that a friend sent to me ages ago to practice sewing on. Her face and eyes were made from felt squares I had in my stash. I thought Molly would look pretty cute in a bow, though next time I want to try the beret in the pattern.

Before she was completely finished, Pi asked who I was making her for. I said I didn't have anyone in mind. She said "good, we can share her." Haha, I guess Molly is going to be living in our house.

I highly recommend you check out mmmcrafts. Larissa is truly talented and I've spent more hours than I care to admit, reading her blog.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.

This season is really important for Catholics, spiritually. I use this time to try and bring myself closer to God through more prayer and fasting.

We give up something that we're attached to for 40 days and also abstain from meat today and every Friday during Lent.

Broccoli and liver made a run for most loved foods, but sadly, they didn't make the cut this time. In the end, it was a heated internal debate between coffee and chocolate. If I'm going to be totally honest with myself, coffee is definitely much harder for me to give up.

So, I'm going to go with the major challenge and kicking coffee for the next 40 days.

No, I'm not crying.....yet!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Crochet Calorimetry

Remember this scarf I made a few months ago? The co-worker who took this scarf home asked if I could make a headband like the ones the street vendors sell that have the giant flowers on them. I told her I couldn't make one exactly like those, but I could make something similar.

Since the scarf she has is crocheted, I wanted to crochet a headband to match. The Crochet Calorimetry pattern seemed like a good match.

Except, I forgot one teeny, tiny detail. The pattern used ww yarn, while I was using Homespun, which is bulky. The headband came out to be waaaay too big.

So, rather than re-do the whole thing, I improvised. I folded the giant headband in half and whipstitched it closed. Perfect solution because it fits just right now.

The giant flower is from yarncat and can be found HERE.

My poor Heady is looking awfully pale. Guess she can't wait for spring either. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day!

Today's another snow day for me. I looked out the window and saw that the roads were barely plowed and decided to stay home. My exact thought ran along the lines of "hell no!" Getting to the bus stop in all that snow would have been a nightmare. We got a total of 17 inches here.

The trees looked amazing though!

Yesterday, I finished up my secret baby project. Once it gets popped in the mail and delivered, I'll be able to show you what it is.
Pi and I spent the rest of the day in the kitchen. We made Oreo Pops for her class Valentine gift. The idea came from Our Life in Perfect Cadence. There are a ton of fun recipes and kid friendly crafts over there.

We used mini heart sprinkles for decoration and as you can see, Pi went a little nuts with them. Pi's school is closed today too, so there's no guarantee we'll actually be able to hand these out. But, I'm going to bravely volunteer to eat them if that happens, haha.

We wrapped them in lollipop wrappers and tied with curling ribbon I had on hand. Just a note...the regular lollipop wrappers are a tight fit with all that melted chocolate and sprinkles. Next time, I'll buy slightly larger wrappers.

Everyone was craving something sweet. It was so bad, that hubby planned to walk to the store in the blizzard. Ummm, no! So I volunteered to bake something. Now that I think about it, he played me like a fiddle, haha!

After checking the cabinets, we had just enough flour and the rest of the ingredients to make a Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake.

No pecans this time though, so I used quick oats. Also, to make it a bit moister than last time, I added 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. It came out soooo good.

Diet? What diet? :X

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

And the winner is....

The random generator picked #2, which is Jaala herself, so I did it again and the winner is comment #1!

Congrats Laura!!! E-mail me and let me know which email you'd like the Spring Pattern Pack sent to.

In other news, we're in the middle of a blizzard here. I got up at 5am to go to work, but then found out that New Jersey had declared a state of emergency, so I decided to stay home. The buses are running for now, but its not a guarantee that they'll keep running through rush hour. I didn't want to get stuck in Manhattan, so here I am.

Look how pretty the trees look!

This was taken at 7am and there's a lot more snow now.

Pi and I are going to spend the day making oreo pops for her class Valentines and hopefully I can finally finish that secret baby gift for my preggo friend.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Under the Big Tent with Knitcircus

Happy Tuesday peeps!

I'm really excited to have Jaala Spiro, the editor of Knitcircus magazine guest blogging today. Knitcircus is a quarterly magazine that publishes knitting and sewing patterns, recipes, and loads of great articles. Knitcircus went live with its first online publication last week!

Welcome Jaala....

Thanks, Christina and what fun to be on such a true multicrafting blog!

In the spirit of your fearless ability to reach into all kinds of craft, we’ve got a free sewing tutorial/pattern to offer your readers as a blog tour treat.

This was one of my favorite patterns for the magazine; pictured here in bright stripes, it would look cool and summery in a blue and cream mattress ticking or lemonade-colored awning stripe. If you choose a fabric with distinct stripes, make sure they match up on the right side before sewing! Pin twice, sew once…

Diamond Square Pillow

A pillow in the background caught my attention while leafing through a home design book, and I had to try making one like it. The technique is easier than it looks, and you’ll have a fine cushion in an afternoon.

Eco-Friendly pillow form by Eco-Craft, 18”x18”
One yard of 45” cotton striped fabric for the front
½ yard fabric for the back—cotton, linen, corduroy, etc.
18” zipper
Paper bag
Dressmaker’s pencil

For the pillow front:
1) Cut four 10”x10”squares on the bias of striped fabric. I suggest folding the fabric into a big triangle, and cutting one square out of the paper bag. Using the square, mark the edges of the four pieces onto the wrong side of fabric with a dressmaker’s pencil. Cut out.

2) Lay out the four squares together, turning each 90 degrees to make a diamond shape in the center.

3) Pin the top two and bottom two together, right sides together. Make sure when you open them up, they’re in the proper alignment to create the diamond.

4) Sew a ½” seam on the center –facing sides of both top and bottom squares. Trim to ¼” and press both to the same side.

5) Pin the long edges of the two rectangles together, making sure to line up center seam lines exactly. Sew seam as in Step 4. Press trimmed edge on the wrong side, then turn and press all four seam lines from the front to ensure straight lines on the right side.

For the pillow back:
6) Cut two pieces of fabric 10”x20”.

7) Apply zipper to center: use instructions on zipper package to install a zipper between the long edges of the rectangles. (Here's a link to How to Sew a Zipper into a pillow)

8) Attach to front: Open zipper about halfway. Pin back to front, right sides together. Sew seams on all four edges as in step 4.

9) Turn right side out: grasp zipper pull and open zipper all the way. Bring pillowcase through zipper, using a closed scissors to push corners out if needed.

10) Press pillowcase, avoiding zipper. Clip any hanging threads.

11) Insert pillow form into case and zip up!--JS

**me again**

You'd think that a free sewing pattern would be generous enough, but there's more. One of you lucky peeps is going to win a free download of the Spring Pattern Collection!

You've got 24 hours to leave a comment here or ravmessage Jaala at jaaladay to enter. Simple as that. Tomorrow at 10am EST, we'll close the entries and pick a winner via the Random Number Generator. Good luck!

Don't forget to click the Knitcircus link and then click on the teeny tiny magazine in the upper area to check out more great patterns and recipes. Also, check out tomorrow's stop on the blog tour, Otterwise.

Thanks so much for stopping by Jaala!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Just the facts.

Fact 1: I finally have an appointment to see an eye June! He specialized in vision deficiencies in people who have had brain trauma. While I've never had brain trauma (that I know of), my vision issues are pretty similar to people that have, like my double vision. Hmmm, makes me wonder if mom ever dropped me on my head. Hey mom!!! :)

Fact 2: I gained 1.5 pounds this week. Every bit of it was deserved and I don't regret it at all.

Fact 3: Pi and I are not football fans. We abandoned the Super Bowl (and hubby) to watch the Sound of Music.

Fact 4: Jaala Spiro of Knitcircus will be here tomorrow! So excited!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Owl make my notebook pretty!

There's a whole stack of black and neon pink felt left over from Pi's Halloween costume. Its been sitting under my sewing table, challenging me to find a use for it.

When I saw THIS tutorial over at CraftStylish, I knew I wanted to try a variation of it on this little notebook. Its a 5.5 x 3.5 pocket sized notebook that I've been keeping track of my calories in.

I'm not a big fan of the buttons, so I played around with scraps of red, green, and white felt and came up with this.

I got to practice a little embroidery and a blanket stitch around the edges too. I love it!

Very quick took me just an evening in front of the tv.

The neon pink felt is feeling a little lonely, but I'll find a use for it yet!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Shopping Spree! Weee!

If you know me at all, you know I love books. Love. Them. Want to know what I love even more? Cheap books!

So when Piper's school announced a used book sale as a fundraiser, I was all for it. There were tables and tables full of books for kids and grown-ups, plus dvds and vhs tapes. Pi and I browsed for what seemed like an eternity.

The school had a "fill up a bag" option, so we opted for that. They gave us a reusable bag and we were allowed to fill it to bursting for $5!!! *swoon*

Oooh, it gets better too!

On my lunch break, I decided to browse around Strand books for awhile. Normally, their craft section is pretty lacking, but I hit the motherload this time.

I got all three of these books for less than half of their regular price.

I'm such a book dork. There, I've admitted it out loud!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mark your calendars!

Jaala Spiro, the editor of Knitcircus magazine will be guest blogging next Tuesday February 9th!

Knitcircus is a quarterly magazine that publishes knitting and sewing patterns, recipes, and loads of great articles. The super exciting news is that Knitcircus went live today for the first time in electronic format!

The best part? Blogging buddy Bezzie is the cookie czar at Knitcircus!

Click the Knitcircus link and then click on the teeny tiny magazine in the upper area to get a peek at the magazine. Go check it out while we wait for Jaala's guest post and see what all the buzz is about. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trip to the Eye Doctor

The story of how I saw the eye doctor...almost.

Me: Hey self, its been about 8 years since you got new glasses. Everything is sort of really blurry now. Maybe its time to go and get a new pair. *makes appointment. with doctor in town*

Day of Appointment:

- Wake up at 4am and leave at the crack of dawn to get to work by 6:30am, so I can leave at 2:30pm to make it back to NJ for 4:20pm appointment.

- Blasted traffic is slowing the bus. Call doctor's office at 3:50 to confirm I will be there by 4:10 or so. Receptionist informs me if I am not there at 4:15, she will cancel appointment.

- Confusion. Appointment is at 4:20, but if I'm not 5 minutes EARLY, I get the boot. Ummm, whachutalkinbout Willis?

- Get off bus at 4:13 and sprint down Elm street to doctor. Boy, I'm out of shape.

- Realize that this is my own personal Nightmare on Elm Street. (couldn't resist).

- Narrowly avoid the receptionist from hell cancelling the appointment.

- Wait an hour with all the other suckers who are clearly cowering from the aforementioned receptionist from hell.

- Doctor calls me in and proceeds to tell me he can't see me. Because ...wait for this now... I have eye problems (duh!) and he feels that my case is too "complicated" for him.

- Me: check sign on door. Confirm that I didn't confuse my gyn appt. with the eye appt. No, nope...I'm in the right place.

- Doctor refers me to my pediatric eye doctor that last saw me over 8 years ago.

- Me: But...but... I'm a grown-up now. What if he won't see me?

- Doctor shrugs and says I should ask for a referral to someone else in that case.

- Desperation sets in.

- Me: I just want new glasses. GLASSES! Not surgery! Not amazing new technology! Not even good waiting room magazines. Just glasses!

- Doctor waves goodbye.


Its probably going to take me another 8 years before I can go through all that trouble to get to an eye doc again. And, betcha they bill my insurance for this "visit!"

Monday, February 1, 2010

Baby Cocoon

Andrea from Knits and Knots created a great baby cocoon pattern as a prop for her friend's photography business. She asked me to test it for her and I was more than happy to do so!

I used Lion Brand Homespun and an N hook, as suggested in the pattern. How cute and snuggly does that look? I want one in adult sizes! :)

My gauge is really off because I crochet so tightly. This cocoon is just big enough to fit one of Pi's teddy bears. I'll make sure to use a larger hook when I make another one.

I finished it while watching a movie, so its a great last minute gift. There are oodles of people I know having babies now, so I'll definitely be adding this to my shower presents.
Thanks for letting me test, Andrea!
In other news, Week 4 was a 1.7 pound loss, so I'm back to where I was two weeks ago.
January total loss: 6.3 pounds!