Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Getting Ready for Valentine's Day

Just like the retail outlets, I too need from the day after Christmas to prepare for February 14th. This year-- I am going to make Martha's bitchin fortune cookies out of felt, cards, and I also have a heart intarsia scarf to make and some slippers. Scratch Bakery will re-open for more homemade candies: carmellows (Marshmallow, caramel, dipped in chocolate), and espresso-chocolate caramels. It takes a long time to make these things! I need the 7 weeks!

Christmas ornaments/gifts

Meanwhile, here's some of the Christmas ornaments/gifts I made this year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Owl, originally uploaded by wandernstarz.

Super cute owl! I am inspired to make my own!

Arturo the Owl

Arturo the Owl, originally uploaded by squirrel momma.

I am in love with this pin cushion!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Christmas Fir Trees

Super cute as well! paper and string is my new favorite etsy seller, besides anndmade-- she's obviously the super bestest!

Fabric Christmas Trees

Simple, but super cute!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

owl ornaments

owl ornaments, originally uploaded by paper-and-string-on-flickr.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Blue Owl

003, originally uploaded by rockabilachica.

This is by far my favorite Halloween ornament that I sent to Laura. I found a picture of a similar owl and then improvised the pattern.

Pumpkin Patch

004, originally uploaded by rockabilachica.

These are fairly easy to knit up-- make them for your friends for Halloween or Thanksgiving!

Purple Kitty

007, originally uploaded by rockabilachica.

I used an embroidery pattern from Sublime Stitching to make this cat for Laura.


008, originally uploaded by rockabilachica.

I love bats! At least the kind you can make with googly eyes. This batty little dude was super easy to whip up. Now he lives in Austin with the other bats I like.


011, originally uploaded by rockabilachica.

My friend Leslie said that this Frankenstein I made looked like an Emo Frankenstein. :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Strong Man Stan

Strong Man Stan, originally uploaded by ILIKEITTOOTOO.


Halloween Tree ornaments

Halloween Tree ornaments, originally uploaded by 3 peas.

How freaking cute is this!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Peppermint garland

Peppermint garland
Originally uploaded by PatchworkPottery

What a yummy surprise this would be for a swap!


She loves the wool forest, originally uploaded by knitalatte11.

This little enchanted forest of trees would be a lovely holiday surprise!

patchwork star ornaments

patchwork star ornaments, originally uploaded by jrcraft.

Aren't these super cute? I am sure all the sewing goddess can improv a pattern for these little gems.

Ornament Ideas!

For those of you on Ravelry in the Holiday Ornament Swap Group, it is easier to put pictures of other people's ornaments here so that I respect their copyright privileges. These little fabric trees were used in someone else's ornament swap and I thought they were darling!

Monday, August 18, 2008

What I have been up to

School's out. I am bored. Crafting begins. I miss my sweat shop :(

This is my Holly Golightly doll that was a birthday gift for Laura.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Latest Pincushion Swap

I took this photo with my camera phone so it's a bit grainy. However, I made another pin cushion for my latest swap. I spelled her name with pins and made waves with pins too. She wanted to go on vacation to Maine to see lighthouses, so that's what I made her. I wasn't super happy with it, but it was a lot of work to get it looking reasonable enough to send off to Oklahoma.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mr. Funky en route to Texas

Be on the lookout Laura and Katie!

More Yarn and Fabric around Boston

Winmill Fabrics near Chinatown/Downtown crossing came highly recommended on Tom's list (see previous post). In a word: Bleck. I can see if you wanted to buy men's suiting that this is the place to go. They had a lot of options all with reasonable prices. Even women's wool suiting looked okay. However, this place looked like it hadn't received any new fabric since 1982. The place was dingy. The staff didn't acknowledge me. There certainly weren't any hipster fabrics a la Amy Butler or anything I would want. Huge disappointment considering its proximity to my work.

In better news, we roadtripped it up to Lowell, MA, which is where the giant textile mills used to be. The buildings are still there and a few have been turned into national parks. We went to the New England Quilt Museum. Snooze. I have more quilts than this place had! Not as old but definitely as interesting. I was actually quite disappointed with the number of quilts. A leisurely paced tour of the exhibit lasted 15 minutes maximum. Hardly worth $5. I don't even think my mom (master quilter) enjoyed it too much.

We hit the Lowell LYS which are at this place called the Western Avenue Studios. This place was awesome! There is a yarn store (Classic Elite) which is an outlet of sorts. Reasonable selection of yarn, just poorly organized and difficult to figure out prices: one of my BIGGEST complaints about LYS up here. After tackling the yarn store we went down and looked at the artist studios. Basically these places are for rent for artists and they sell their wares out of their studios. None of the art was earth shattering, but it was awesome that this space is available and some of the work was really interesting and definitely worth checking out around Christmas time. We will definitely go back. If we lived closer, we'd be getting a studio!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boston Fabric Stores

I found an excellent source of information on local fabric stores at His review of Sew Fisticated Discount Fabrics was dead on. I went there today in hopes of finding some fabric to finish my pillow that I made a stockinette knitted side. I want the other side to be fabric. Sew Fisticated sucked. Their fabrics are definitely tacky and the store is tacky too. There are a lot of hand printed signs on the front doors: "No beverages or food" "No kids running around." They set the tone for the crappy selection of dated fabrics inside. Let there be no doubt that if you need some tacky crap for a costume or a party, this place will have it and their prices are reasonable. The crotchety old ladies that work there are as friendly as their welcoming signs. Boo.

I am going to check out the others on Tom's list soon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boston LYS Updated 6/25

Been to: The Stitch House in Dorchester. Love, love, love! This store has a beautiful selection of yarn a ton of nice space to hangout and knit in which the very sweet owner encourages. She also knows everything about the area and has been immensely helpful in my recent relocation. Super nice people, super nice space, and well worth coming out to the Dot!

A Good Yarn in Brookline. This is a tiny store, but has a ton of yarn in every nook and cranny. Very good sale recently! I bought a bunch of new yarn for less than 1/2 the price. Very exciting especially because my mom is coming to visit soon and there are some requests for crochet projects out of Mr. Funky!

Newbury Yarn Co. 164 Newbury St, Boston. Talk about tiny! This place is a little room in the back of a building near the center of Newbury Street. The yarn selection is fine, but she doesn't price her yarn. She said it was too much trouble. Okay, so put up a sign? No. You basically have to ask how much the individual balls, skeins and hanks are. I don't like that at all. She also bad mouthed the yarn store down the street, which I didn't think was very professional. I doubt that I would go back.

Mind's Eye Yarn 22 White Street, Cambridge. This place is in an odd location near Porter Square, behind the Pier 1 and in front of the parking lot for Shaw's. TINY! It actually felt like the owner lived in there as her toothbrush was in the customer bathroom. Ick. Her selection of yarn was nothing to write home about. I bought an obligatory 2 skeins of Araucania in a lovely palette. She teaches spinning classes which I am mildly interested in learning how to do. She had a descent selection of roving but I wouldn't make a special trip over there-- it's more of a place you would stop in if you were already in the area.

Haven't yet been too:
Circles 56 Murray Hill Road, Roslindale
Windsor Button 35 Temple Place, Boston
Wild and Wooly
Knit and Needlepoint 11 Newbury St, Boston (I looked in the window on this one, but it seemed to cater to the latter rather than the former of its names).
In Stitches 454 Boston Post Rd.Weston, MA
Sit 'n Knit 167 West Emerson Street
Knitwitts 56 Allen RoadBrookfield Knittin' Kitten Blanchard Road, Cambridge
Woolcott & Co. 61 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge
Ladybug Knitting Shop 612 Route 6A Main Street, Olde Kings Grant, Dennis
The Wool Basket, Inc. 19 Depot St, Duxbury
The Yarn Barn 602 Route 6A, East Sandwich,

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Chocolate Lab cakes and Schlitter cakes with tubes and sharks

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Few Knitting (and Crochet) Resources

I can't recommend Ravelry enough. You have to wait about 2 weeks because they are a DIY shop and many others are waiting to sign up. This is a wondrous resource for knitters and crocheters alike! Patterns, yarns, ideas, pictures, swaps, and more! FANTASTIC! If you are already on Ravelry, please be my friend: Rockabilachica.

Vickie Howell's website has podcasts. This host of DIY's knitty gritty has a lot of interesting ideas.

Knitting Help has great videos to see how to do everything from the basics to the super expert.

More to come!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

pin cushion swap

So I joined my first swap on Ravelry. It is for pin cushions. The woman I am trading with is in Brooklyn. We both filled out questionnaires to get an idea about what the other might like. From her questionnaire, I decided to run with a gnome and wool theme. Here's the results. The mushroom is in the front (it does have a stem) is filled with emery, as in the stuff that emery boards are made of. It is also the sharpener for needles that the strawberry attached to the tomato pin cushions have in it.
On the bottom, I used a four inch square coaster, followed by a little bag filled with sawdust (from the store bought tomato pin cushion that I dismantled), and finally, a little polyfill. The entire pin cushion is 1/4 inch think wool that I got at Hobby Lobby.
I really hope my swapper likes it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Mom's Etsy Site
Check it out!
She has new crochet hook organizers up!

Hello Cupcake!

The book Hello Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson is a wonderful gem. My sister, Karla, sent it to me. So far, I have made the owls and the sunflowers.

Owls (very easy!)

My niece, Lauren, made these butteflies.

My sunflowers for Katie's birthday.

Making Vanilla Cupcakes

I have tried a lot of different recipes in the last 2 years of cupcake baking. I think that the best vanilla cupcake (for me) is Amy Sedaris's which you can double check if you are so inclinded in her book I Like You, off of her blog, or off of Chockylit's blog which is an excellent cupcake baking blog with some of the best recipes I have ever made. I have copied it from Chockylit's blog with a few additional notes.

Of all the cupcakes I make this one consistently is an adult-crowd pleaser. It is moist, not too dense, vanilla-y, and yummy.

Vanilla Cupcakes from Amy Sedaris This always makes 24 for me.

1½ sticks unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla Do not use imitation vanilla! If you are that person, then you should really just not be baking and get it from a bakery instead.
½ teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons baking powder
2½ cups flour
1¼ cups milk

Best when all ingredients are at room temperature! This is a key!

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.

2. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.

3. Beat in eggs, vanilla, salt and baking powder.

4. Add flour in 3 batches, alternating with milk. I like to start on a flour and end on a milk. If you have a stand mixer you never need to stop the machine, just add in small batches flour-milk-flour-milk-flour-milk.

5. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth and satiny.

6. Divide batter evenly among cups. I use an ice cream scoop about 2/3rds full.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean.

7. Cool on wire rack for 45 minutes or until at room temperature. If you don't have a wire rack, you should still take them out of the muffin pan to cool on the counter.

Note: This recipe makes more than 12 cupcakes. Be careful to fill only 2/3s to 3/4s full so they don’t overflow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Making Buttercream

The perfect buttercream is an illusive goal. Several key factors are involved in creating an excellent butter cream.
1. The butter. You need to make sure you butter is at room temperature. Always use unsalted butter. I usually buy the generic HEB brand in Texas for $1.99/4 sticks.

2. The sugar. Powdered, and most importantly sifted. Don't buy a stupid metal sifter that you have to fuss with the handle. It's too slow going. I prefer to use a mesh strainer and bang my hand on the edge. Whatever doesn't fall through the sieve, do not reuse or crush or force through the mesh. Toss it. Those little bits are the arch enemy of frostings: lumps.

3. The ratio of butter to sugar. Tricky. Depends on what you like, sweeter or buttery-er. I prefer a less sweat buttercream. Thus my ratio is 1 stick of butter 2 cups powdered sugar. You can of course adjust to your own preferences. If you do this in small increments, you can experiment quite a bit to make sure you have the ratio to your preferences. Add the sugar slowly after you hit 1 1/2 cups. Perhaps in quarter cup increments until you get the consistency you want.

4. The extras. I like to mix in pure vanilla extract (get it at Costco it's cheap and great quality). At least 1 teaspoon. Sometimes, up to a tablespoon. Again, add in small increments and taste a lot. You will find your perfect buttercream. You can also try various other extracts such as raspberry, almond, lemon, orange...all in small increments until you get the desired flavoring.

5. The milk. Depending on what's around the house, I prefer to use half and half as the 'milk' of the buttercream. Add a tablespoon at a time to control the consistency. You can always add more, you can't take milk out. If you dump in too much milk then the consistency is off and crappy, so you add more sugar, which then needs more bueno. You can use heavy cream or you can use nonfat milk if you are insane. All should be at near room temperature. You don't want your ingredients at all different temperatures, causes freaky deaky things to happen.

Now that we have covered all the ingredients, you have two mixing options: a stand mixer or a hand mixer. I've used both. It doesn't matter, just use what you have already. Mix the butter by itself first. Less than a minute of mixing. Add in the sugar (2 cups sifted), the vanilla or other flavoring, and 2 tablespoons of milk or cream. Beat. Check flavor and adjust accordingly with sugar and milk or cream.

I like to frost immediately, but frosting cupcakes is often just a nuisance to me. I am not a master decorator and I have never noticed anyone complaining about my cupcakes because they are not masterful works of art. Spoon on about 2-3 tablespoons of frosting in the center and you can use a knife, a spoon, or some fancy utensil.

If you like to pipe frosting on, I like to chill my frosting in the fridge for about a half hour before frosting. I like the control of the frosting better that way.

Buttercream can be colored with simple food coloring. Buttercream can be saved in the fridge for about a week. Buttercream can also be 'cut' with cream cheese. If you substitute half the butter for cream cheese, you will have an entirely different frosting, which is an excellent substitute when you want to mix it up.