Friday, April 25, 2014

Tiny Bunnies (part 2)

I finished my bunny nugget set this week - well technically on Sunday. On the Wednesday before Easter I had the idea to knit my nieces, nephews and kids little bunnies for Easter. Just a fun little project using up scrap sock yarn that probably would have been more enjoyable if I had decided more than four days ahead of time (I needed seven total).

By last Friday I had finished these two guys and had almost finished a third one (I talked about them here)

By the end of Friday, I had two more done:

I realized I was running behind by that point so I was pretty attached to my knitting. Unfortunately I had other things to do too, so by Saturday night I was really crunched.

I switched to sort of an assembly line style - first the three remaining bunny bodies, then do all three tails, then all three faces, etc. I actually ended up finishing them at my mom's house shortly before our egg hunt. I was so glad I made it - the only bummer is I never did get a picture of all the bunnies together.

The stragglers:

One last bunny:

Somebody (some bunny?) talk some sense into me if I try to last minute knit like this again!

For more finished objects check out Tami's Amis!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter brownie bites

I knew I wanted to make a dessert for Easter this year - holidays always seem like a chance to bust out something fun. I had an idea that started forming after I did the cupcakes for C's birthday party. (I wanted the cupcakes to look like grass and dirt so I did chocolate cupcakes and piped buttercream frosting to look like grass.) I realized I could sort of do the same thing for Easter just by adding some embellishments.

I changed it up a little and made brownie bites instead of cupcakes (truthfully I like brownies way better than cake). I found the most amazing recipe for brownies on All Recipes - to turn it into to bites, I just shortened the baking time to 15 minutes.

Then came the fun part. I made a basic buttercream frosting (3/4 cup of sugar beaten with vanilla until smooth, add 2 1/4 cups of powdered sugar a little bit at a time, add 1 tbps of milk to thin it slightly) and added green food dye to give it a pale green color. I piped this onto my brownies using a star tip. Then I added two candy eggs to the top - I used the Hershey's ones for half and the Reese's one for half. If I had to pick, I'd give a slight edge to the Reese's ones; the peanut butter was a really nice contrast.

I'm really excited that they looked as good on the plate as they did in my head plus they are so yummy!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Tiny bunnies

I had a "brilliant" idea a couple of days ago to make little bunnies for my boys and my nieces and nephews for Easter. Why I wait until the last minute for inspiration to strike, I'll never know.

I'm using Rebecca Danger's bunny nugget pattern which is so super cute but also knits up really fast. I'm doing the nuggets in all different colors of sock yarn leftovers so they are really tiny. Seriously they are the size of my palm.

One bunny...

Two bunnies...

I'm almost finished with the third (he just needs ears and stuffing). Numbers 4, 5, 6, and 7 will hopefully go as quickly - I'll post a pic of the whole group next week.

For more finished objects, check out Tami's Amis


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Minecraft birthday party

C is a huge minecraft fan so he asked if he could have a minecraft themed birthday this year. I agreed but I ran into a problem - the party store doesn't have any minecraft decorations. So I had to come up with my own. Luckily all of the shapes in minecraft are very blocky so they are easy to draw and cut out. Plus others on the internet are full of ideas for inspiration.

I found some cute invitations at Catch My Party (there are other printables available but I didn't use them). For games I found a few websites that had ideas and decided to play two - pin the tail on the pig and creeper bean bag toss.

To make the pig I bought a large sheet of pink poster board. I wanted the head to be square and the body rectangular so I cut a 10" x 10" piece and a 10" by 12" piece. I overlapped the corners and glued together. Then I took a piece of white paper and cut two 1" by 2" pieces and cut 2 1" by 1" squares out of black construction paper. I glued the black squares to the white rectangles then glued the whole piece to the face. I cut a 4" by 5" piece from the pink poster board and glued it on to the face. For the tails I just cut strips of pink paper for the kids to use.

For the bean bag toss I took a cardboard box and cut it open to lay flat. The benefit of using a cardboard box is I was able to take advantage of the existing fold the make it stand up. I painted the box green and then cut the face shapes out. I modified the creeper face slightly - the creepers in the game have their eyes touching the mouth, but that would have left me with one big hole. So I cut out two squares for the eyes and then cut the face out an inch or so lower. I labeled the points with a black marker and the game was ready. This was by far the favorite activity at the party.
I kept the decorations mostly simple, except for the creeper wall. For the table I used a brown table cloth covered with a smaller green one to look like the dirt and grass. I hung green streamers and balloons that had either an animal face or creeper face drawn on them.
The creeper wall was a little more time consuming. I took 20 pieces of green construction paper and glued on 20 faces. Well let me be a little more specific. I had to cut out the eyes separately from the mouth because of the shape of a creeper face and then glue them back the right way.
I'm super pleased with the way it turned out. And it wasn't a waste of my time too badly. We ended up decorating C's room with them after the party!
I was tempted to label the food with minecraft style labels but to be perfectly honest I ran out of time. So decorations for the food ended up being green plates and forks.i did manage to decorate the cupcakes though. I tried to make them look like grass boxes so I made chocolate cupcakes and dyed my buttercream green. Then I piped the frosting to look grass-like.
I think the birthday boy liked his party. Happy birthday C!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sewing a knitting needle holder

My double pointed knitting needles have been driving me crazy lately. I absolutely love knitting with them but until now I had no good way of organizing them. Instead they were all thrown in a bin together, which meant a lot of digging and using my needle gauge any time I wanted to use a set. So I started thinking about a way to organize them.

Another one of my goals was to get better at using my sewing machine. So for this year's resolution list I decided to join my ideas/goals and sew a knitting needle holder. I figured it would be a fairly easy project as it is pretty much all straight lines.

How did it go? Well...I sort of winged it. I think it looks pretty good for one of my first projects. There are some flaws but I can live with them. Here's how I got there.

First I had to figure out what size I needed to cut the fabric. I wanted a spot for all of my current needles plus a few spots for the sizes that I'm still missing (and will hopefully acquire some day). I figured 2" for each space would work - big enough for one set of the larger sizes and multiple of the smaller sizes. I also wanted to give myself a seam allowance so I went with 32" wide - 15 holders plus my allowance. I decided to cut the main piece 16" tall. My tallest needles are 8" and I wanted to be able to fold the top down so the needles wouldn't fall out the top. I'm pretty sure I cut more than I needed to but I'm still working on my precision. My smaller piece - the pocket piece a was going to be the same width but only about 5" tall (my shortest needles are only 6" tall so I didn't want it to come up too high)

I raided my fabric stash to find some fabric to use and ended up with a gorgeous turquoise blue for the big piece and a purple, blue and pink striped fabric for the smaller piece. To make my life easier (so I thought) I cut each piece twice as tall so I could just fold it over and hem. This was mistake number one - by doing it this way the stitching on my pockets was going to be noticeable on the outside of the holder.

So anyway I pinned the right sides of the fabric together on the smaller piece and sewed around the three unattached sides, leaving a small opening to turn it right side out.

Then I did the same for the bigger piece. (Mistake number two - I sewed all the way around the three sides. I had to get out a seam ripper to cut the opening so I could turn it the right way.)

Next I pinned the two pieces together and top stitched around. This step went rather smoothly until the very end. About two inches from the edge, my bobbin ran out of thread. No big deal, I'll just wind some more. Except the bobbin winder on my machine chose that moment to break. I know it worked earlier because I wound thread onto the bobbin before I started the project. I was so frustrated! Mere inches from the edge and I was stuck. So I did something I wouldn't have done if I were giving this away - I switched to a thread that matched a bobbin that I already had wound. In my defense I was using a really light gray and switched to white so it's not super noticeable.

My next step was to mark out every two inches on the striped fabric to mark out where to sew for pockets. Then I sewed them down. Here's where I would have been smart to only be sewing through one on the big pieces of fabric and then sewing the other down.

I'm really not too bummed though because even with all the trial and error here's what I ended up with - a very functional and rather pretty needle holder.

My flap idea even worked!

Then I grabbed a pretty ribbon and tied it together.

Ta da! Another resolution ticked off the list and a functional project to come out of it!