Art Experimentation

I recently finished this page of doodles that I wanted to turn into some bookmarks for the stacks of books I’ve been ordering at a time from the library. I’m trying to get through my “to read” list on Goodreads, yet it keeps growing instead of shrinking.

Doodling got me wanting to do some painting, but not just regular painting. That’s where the experiments started. I began with this painting, but quickly decided I wasn’t going to be able to cover the pencil lines any time soon, so I abandoned that canvas and started another.

The bottom layer worked out pretty well, though a little sloppier than I would’ve liked. But that wasn’t going to matter if my idea worked out.

Spoiler alert, it didn’t. I was going to try punch needle on the painted canvas, but it didn’t work out the way I had hoped. It’s ok, though. That’s the point of experimenting. And now I have a couple canvases that I can dismantle and turn into something else. Super excited to do more experimenting.

Vegan Baking

Recently, through some self-experimentation, I discovered that my body does not like dairy. Which is pretty bad, because I kind of love dairy. And have a really tough time not eating it, despite knowing it will give me a rash and an upset stomach. So I have spent way too many nights up late browsing Pinterest to find recipes for my favorite foods that have been veganized.

Our first find was this vegan cherry-filled chocolate cake the six-year-old helped me make for his dad’s birthday. I actually used the vegan chocolate cupcake recipe in Rosanaa Pansino’s Baking All Year Round, just split into two round cake pans instead of a cupcake tin. I typically bake without eggs anyway, because I don’t tend to like to eat eggs and never had them on hand for baking in college. Flaxseed meal mixed 1:3 with water is my preferred “egg” anytime it’s called for in a recipe. And, since I already quit drinking cow milk and only ever have almond on hand, that’s not much of a change either.

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Happy pi day!

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One thing I had seen a lot in vegan recipes but had not yet tried was avocado in chocolate things. So, for Pi day, I made this chocolate pie from coconut milk, avocados, and those new “allergen free” chocolate chips by Tollhouse, with this crust that I just baked at 350 for about 20 minutes. I’m also a big fan of the chocolate chips by Enjoy Life, and I’ve found that Trader Joe’s semisweet chocolate chips also are dairy-free.

For my birthday, I want tres leches cake. Problem is, there are literally no vegan bakeries around here that make them. Or at least none that list it on their website. So I had to resort to making my own from this recipe which was really good (though I did substitute almond milk for the soy milk since I don’t keep soy milk on hand and had to start the process at about 8am and didn’t want to run to the store). Best find of this recipe was the So Delicious Coco whip, right next to the Cool Whip in the freezer section. I didn’t have time to get the coconut cream and refrigerate it overnight to make my own whipped cream, so that was a handy solution.

Most recently, I’ve tried this tomato soup recipe (which even the six-year-old approved of) with this grilled cheese recipe made with the white bean option and my usual staple of Julia Child’s white sandwich bread. Wins all around. Not necessarily sure if the “grilled cheese” really passes as a grilled cheese or not, but it’s delicious nonetheless.

Sometimes I manage to get something great, sometimes it’s a dud. But all of these recipes worked amazingly, so I’ll keep trying more to find what’s good and what’s not.


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A Trio of Wooden Animals

A while back I found some wooden animals at Target in the craft section. And by a while I’m pretty sure I mean a couple years because they don’t seem to sell them anymore. I intended to use them to make string art (you know, the kind where you hammer nails in all around and then wrap it with string), but I never got around to it and then lost interest in that idea.

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A semi-matching pair of gorillas. #zentangleart

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A month or so ago I pulled them out again, intending to finally do something with them. My goal this year is going to be using up the canvases, yarn, and these type of wooden things I have to make space in my shelves. I was watching some of the progress videos from the Zenspire Designs Instagram and realized these little guys would be the perfect canvas for some doodling.

I started with one gorilla, to see if I liked how it looked, then decided to make the other gorilla face the opposite direction so they could look at each other. Or away from each other, if you want.

All three of these guys are available on my Etsy shop here. They would make an adorable addition to any nursery, playroom, or any animal lover’s book shelf.


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When Are You Gonna Make Me a Blanket?

I have made a ton of blankets to donate to Project Linus in order to use up some yarn. I even made blankets for his friends when their baby brother was born. So naturally the six-year-old asked when I was going to make one for him.

We sat down with the Knit Picks Comfy yarn selection and each boy picked three colors. They even managed to pick two of the same colors despite looking at the colors individually.

I asked each boy whether they wanted a square or circle blanket and set to work (after waiting for the box to be delivered, during which time both boys repeatedly asked why I wasn’t working on their blankets). Except I swear they both said square, yet the six-year-old asked why both blankets looked like squares and insisted he had asked for a circle.

I started in November, totally certain that I would be able to finish these by Christmas. Then by Christmas I was certain I would be able to finish them in time to have them on their beds when they returned from their New Year’s ski trip.

I had no idea how big these were going to be. I bought five skeins of each color of yarn for each blanket and just decided to go until I ran out. The rectangular blanket was easy, because each stripe was the same width.

The circular one was a little more tricky, because each row grew longer in stitch count, but shorter in width. As I got to the outer rings, I was having to use bits of leftovers.

It worked out in the end, but, because they were kind of folded as I worked, I didn’t know how big they were becoming. I did check a couple times to make sure they were going to be large enough, but once that was determined I just kept knitting.

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20 minutes at the bus stop. #knitting

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They also kept me company on some really cold days. I even had to stop knitting one day at soccer because my fingers were frozen, but I kept the blanket on my lap to try to keep me warm.

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Getting there on this one. #knitting

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They also made good company for reading. I decided to go through my “want to read” shelf on GoodReads, so I had a nice big stack of books to get through.

Once I finally took them off the needles, they were way larger than I expected. But it works because they fit nicely on their beds. Which is where I was able to leave them to surprise the boys when they got home. From school. On Valentine’s Day. Close enough.

Super Sparkly Gloves

I recently walked down to the local knitting shop to get some buttons to finish these gloves and found some really cool ones.

Apparently these buttons are Civil War replica buttons. They are also really pretty and go nicely at the bottom of these gloves.

I managed to sew them on while simultaneously teaching “school at home” because the teachers decided to go on strike this week. I’m not letting these kids fall behind on the already ridiculously low standards of the California school system.


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Ankles and Heads

Six months or so ago, I was making a KnitPicks order and needed to get to the free shipping threshold. I know it would save me money in the long run to just pay the shipping fee and not get extra stuff, but it’s yarn. It’s not like it’s something I’m not going to use. There was a special run of Felici worsted weight yarns, and this color way called out to me to be turned into leggings.

I got two balls so the stripes could be the same, and then had to figure out where to start to make that happen. The leggings went very quickly, and I had plenty left over to make a matching hat.

Because of the color, I decided to make everything in a large child size.The colors reminded me of Limited Too/Justice, so I made it in that tween sort of size.

This yarn is super soft, and the best part is that it is fully machine wash and dry. The only downside is that it only comes about in limited runs. Otherwise I’d be buying a whole box of it right now. But I should probably use up some of the other yarn I have first.


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The Only Christmas Gift This Year

Well, not the only one I gave, but the only one I made.

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Lazy Sunday. #knitting #legos

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I had a bunch of light blue and gray Palette yarn from Knit Picks from a frogged project, so I set about making a hat at random.

At first I thought I was going to end up selling this hat, until it came time to decide on Christmas presents. I decided instead that it would be perfect to give one of my grandmas.

Once I had that in mind, I also decided to make a pair of gloves to go along with it.

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And now, matching gloves. #knitting

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I was going to wing it on the glove pattern, until I realized the book I was using the sizing chart from, Custom Knits Accessories, had the perfect pattern.

I applied the same style of stripe pattern to both the hat and gloves, a bit bigger for the hat than for the gloves. It’s my favorite way to stripe two colors together.


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