Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cookie Swap 2013

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Cookie Swap.  We have dubbed it the Aluminum Cookie Swap.  Aluminum is the metal given as a gift on one's 10-year wedding anniversary.

Given this special year, we also changed up the rules.  Everyone who was attending was asked to offer up an interesting ingredient as they have in the Iron Chef TV show.  All the ingredients went into a hat and one was chosen for you.  This ingredient, you had to make into a dessert-like item.  The ingredient was to be a secret and we played a guessing game as we tried all the desserts.

My interesting ingredient was BBQ sauce.  Hmmmmmm.....

I chose to make shortbread cookies with a raspberry bbq sauce on them with icing, cut into strips.  First, the shortbread alone was yummy, so I had a good base.  I baked them and the first out of the oven were very cumbly.  So that was the one that I nibbled on to taste test.  Not too bad!

So, at the cookie swap, here is the list of ingredients that were used in the desserts:

Yes, these ingredients were in the food I was about to eat.  Ha, this was the funnest cookie swap yet!  Here are the cookies that we made:

Tomato Soup Cookies

Wasabi - Black Pearl Cupcakes

Black Bean Cake

Tofu Chocolate Chip Cookies

Guava - Cuban Thumbprint Cookie

Frangelico Meringues

Coffee - Khalua Fudge

Goat Cheese Chocolate Truffles

Fresh Ginger Cookies

Avocado Peanut Butter Fudge

BBQ Shortbreads

I have to admit that these cookies/desserts were good.  Some a bit off, but very edible.  My favorites were the Black Bean Cake, Fresh Ginger Cookies and the BBQ Shortbreads (of course, my own).  The Fresh Ginger Cookies and the Guava Cuban Cookies were "normal" cookies, so they hardly count, because they did not seem like such a challenge.

The poor woman who got avocado, I felt bad for her.  Her fudge was my least favorite.  It was a spongy fudge that looked like it had a white coating on them.  Ehhh.....

The Khalua Fudge was strong!  They used instant coffee, which I thought was very clever.  I'm not a huge fan of booze in my desserts, I just taste alcohol, not really the flavor of the booze.  I had a bad high school experience with Khalua and truly have not drunk it since. (Nicole...remember the premade Khalua Mudslides at one of your parties??  Yeah, I have never forgotten it...I'm scarred for life!)

The most interesting, in my opinion, where the Wasabi Black Pearl Cupcakes.  They were a very moist chocolate cake with a zing at the end.  I don't eat wasabi when I have sushi, so I'm not super familiar with it, but it did not ruin the cupcake.  They were not hot, just a burst of something once you swallow the bite: Interesting!

This was a much enjoyed cookie swap and was glad everyone was a good sport about it and came up with some good, creative recipes.

Can't wait for what next year's will be!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cindy's Miss Me Jeans

My friend Cindy's boyfriend bought her a pair of Miss Me jeans last summer.  She sent them out to get hemmed and when she tried them on there was HUGE rip up the butt.  We are talking HUGE:

These jeans are like $85 jeans.  Yes, really.  They are really cool jeans and someday I will buy myself a pair, but for now I will just dream about them.  Anyway, back to Cindy...the boyfriend had tossed the receipt by the time she tried them on again and the store would not take them back without the receipt.

Bummer for Cindy.  She held onto them, thinking on how she could fix them.  Then they had a party at their house and after drinking a few very delicious apple-tinis I asked if I could try on one of her Miss Me jeans, because I really, really want a pair.  That's when she showed me this pair of jeans.  Me being Miss I-Can-Fix-It, took them home and noodled on how to fix these.  I really had no clue how I was going to fix them.

I turned them inside-out and I noticed that there was another rip along the other pocket:

This was a complete lemon of a pair of jeans.  I should have had her write a letter to Miss Me about the quality expectation of an $85 pair of jeans.  Anyway, I thought of putting a big patch on the inside of the jeans and sew it in place so that there will not be any further stress on these seams.

I took an old pair of jeans that was in the junk pile and harvested a square from the leg:

I positioned the square right in the middle:

Then I thought that I need to at least sew up the hole.  The only way I could think of was good ol' needle and thread.  I had thread that was a cornflower blue that blended in really nicely.

From the inside of the jeans, I threaded the holes. But this was not going to be strong enough.  The first time she bends over in them, the thread would either break or pull away from the jeans in a fraying way.

So, I put the patch back over the butt and sewed in several areas:

First, up the middle seam, then on each pocket, below each pocket then up each butt cheek in the space between the middle seam and pocket.  The thread blended in so well, that even looking close-up from the outside, I couldn't even see it!  Nice!

Ok, ready for some butt shots???  Ha, ha, here they come:

I was trying to pull them really tight on the butt (that is how they should fit) and wanted to make sure that the patch could not be seen as a panty line from the outside.  Nope, panty line a negative!

Me bending over...hey, I have to put it through rigorous quality control tests such as this to ensure that Cindy won't bust them on her first wear of them.

I hope that this patch holds up.  It's a bit strange, but you can't see it from the outside in means of lines, nor can you feel it on the inside.  No digging in or anything.

Success!  Man, I wish I had a pair of Miss Me jeans....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Circus Cowl

Back in Oct, 2012, my local yarn shop (LYS), Brandon Yarn Boutique, had a "yarn tasting."  This yarn tasting was all Cascade Yarn yarns. I had only knitted with this brand once before and was eager to try the others.  They had long tables set up and acrylic square plates set up like a place setting.  Each plate had a different yarn ball on it with a pair of knitting needles (crochet hooks were available, as well) .  This way you can knit or crochet a small swatch to test each yarn.  What a great idea!

I bought a few hanks:

Cascade Yarn Luna Paints (Cotton)
Cascade Yarn Eco Duo (Alpaca/Wool)
Cascade Yarn Heritage (Wool/Nylon)

The project I used Cascade Yarn on before was the Pima Pullover where I used Ultra Pima cotton yarn. Very nice cotton, so soft, not stiff at all.

While at the yarn tasting, I won a door prize!  This is what was in my prize bag:

Cherub DK (Nylon/Acrylic)

Cherub DK (Nylon/Acrylic)

The prize bag had those two skeins of yarn and a pattern for a child's hat.  Cool!

My first project from the yarn tasting yarns, I'm calling Circus Cowl.  I used the first pic above's orange/pink hank of yarn.  It is a crazy mix of colors that I could not resist.  The colors remind me of the circus with all the multicolored flags. 

I decided to knit a cowl that has criss-cross stitches.  I found this free pattern on Ravelry called 3-Hour Cowl.  It came from the blog Malcolm and Marcus.  It was a great project to knit while vegging on the couch watching TV.  It took me a bit longer than 3 hours, but I did make it a bit longer than the pattern.

Here it is done:

It's hard to take a picture so you can have a real appreciation for the vivid colors in this yarn.  It really is fantastic how the colors change when they are very different.

Of course, I have to make a babushka out of it:

It is cozy and the fact that it is cotton, makes it non-itch against the skin.

It is summer-like weather out today, so I won't be wearing it for long, but in the "chill" of the morning, sure, why not.  If my morning tea does not wake me up, then the colors certainly will.

I have promised myself that once this project was finished that I would take the rest of January off of knitting, at a minimum.  Well, I finished this last weekend, Jan 4th and this weekend, I was totally missing picking up my needles while we watched TV.  I'm not sure how long this no-knitting is going to last.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Origami Sweater Finale - Part 3

Happy New Year!!

I have been working on this sweater since October and I was working steady on it for a good month and then my elbow/arm started to hurt from knitting nonstop that I slowed way down.  Here are my past two posts related to this sweater:
Just a quick overview:  This sweater pattern is from Berroco called Buzios.  I don't know who comes up with these names at Berroco, but typical is not an adjective I would use.  I enjoy that about them, though.  I knitted this with Berroco Origami.

During my weekends knitting, my cat Julie would occasionally nap on my project.  I would get up to get something or do a chore and I would often come back to that pic above.  Too cute!  She's literally face down in the yarn!  Here is another one:

I did have two resolves before the end of the year, 2012, and that was 1) To finish a book that I had been reading since Thanksgiving (have you noticed that I have not been posting about books lately??) and 2) to finish this sweater.  Well, I am happy to report that there are checks in each of those boxes!!

I was definitely going down to the wire with that second resolve!  The microwave clock read 9:59pm on New Year's Eve.  Phew, with two hours to spare!  That was finishing, binding off and weaving in ends.  I used a total of 6-1/2 hanks of Origami.  I had to run down to the Brandon Yarn Boutique to buy that 7th hank on Monday.  Unreal!

A few things about this sweater...The neck is way too big.  I needed to decrease more stitches.  Since I am not going to unravel it, I made a braided string with the extra yarn and laced the V up a bit.

I also replaced the tank underneath with a short-sleeved shirt, so that there is fabric for the sweater to "grab" onto.

I am very pleased with the final product that this sweater became to be.  This can be worn with jeans, leggings or even pajama pants!  I'm actually wearing pj/yoga pants in the above pic, so this can be worn with pretty much everything.

I'm loving it and I hope that you enjoyed my Origami Sweater journey. 

Have a great 2013!