Patterns, Patterns, Patterns

My larger screened iPad that I used for drawing and watching died last year. Once I finally got around to taking it to the Apple store, there was nothing that could be done to help it. So I decided to get the new iPad. You know, the one that works with the Apple pencil. But I already had a Bamboo pen that I had used on the old iPad and intended to continue using. Yeah, they don’t work on the new iPad.

Perfect marketing ploy, really, because I went out and got an actual Apple pencil. But it’s became my new favorite thing to do when I have some extra time. I’ve been sucked into making patterns using the Amaziograph app.

Haven’t quite gotten the hang of regular drawing on here, but I’m loving the patterns. All these patterns are going up on Redbubble.


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Baking Week

We’ve got two back-to-back birthdays in the first week of May. This means a lot of treats getting made this week. This year, it was a cake and some tarts.

We used our favorite cook book, Rosanna Pansino’s Baking All Year Round. Grammy’s cake used the chocolate cupcake recipe from the Mini Easter Egg Cupcakes, poured into two 8 inch round cake pans but cooked according to the instructions in the recipe, and the vegan buttercream icing. We added some peppermint extract into the cake and made this cookie dough frosting to go between the cake layers. And, of course, the chocolate pen made its appearance in writing on top.

Despite my baking assistant’s mother’s birthday coming before his grandmother’s, her treats came next, on her actual birthday, since Grammy was only here for the weekend. We made the Daisy Lemon Tarts over two days so we could make it in secret. Well, mostly secret.


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Yarn and Needles and Hooks, Oh My!

I’ve been working away at a shawl for the past couple months, having to stop and rip it out about three different times before finally getting it going, but I’ve also got quite a few other projects cranked out in the same amount of time. First up were some washcloths.

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Passing the time until pickup. #knitting

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My mom was wanting some washcloths for the kitchen at work, but couldn’t really find anything for a good price. Then I offered to make some to donate instead. Got one of those giant cones of cotton yarn off Amazon and set to work, carrying them with me everywhere in case I had a few minutes to work on them.

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Washcloths on the go. #knitting

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I think I ended up with over 10 by the end of the week.

Next up was a baby shower, which meant a baby hat and the booties to match. Baby stuff is so quick to make. If only everyone were so small.

Then came the current massive project: Flower barrettes.

The flowers are so quick and easy to make with leftover yarn, and I have a lot of leftover yarn.

Make three flowers, sew them on a barrette, and there you go.

You can find them on my Etsy shop because otherwise I might suffocate under them all.


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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.