Monday, December 29, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
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
Monday, July 28, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
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
I am going to check out the others on Tom's list soon.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
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
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
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
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
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
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 butter....no 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.