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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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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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.

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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It’s a Cinch!

I’ve got a problem with buying fabric remnants. You know, those leftover bits at the end of the bolt that fabric stores conveniently wrap up and put on deep discount to clear up shelf space. I really shouldn’t let myself go near those racks. Or let my mother go near them either. I think it’s a hereditary thing.

Anyway, this has led to us having quite the stash of fabrics that are less than a yard long. I wanted to trim this down, so I came up with the perfect solution: drawstring bags.

I had followed a Craftsy tutorial many years back to make a drawstring bag that I use for projects, so I thought this would be a great use of those remnants. I mapped up in illustrator how many bags I could get out of a single yard of fabric (it is two at this 9×9 size for all pieces, including the drawstring), and created myself some pattern pieces out of plain paper. Then I set about cutting as many of each piece as I could out of each fabric. 

Once I had all the fabrics I had gathered cut, I had to figure out how to match them up since there weren’t always enough to make each one the same combination. I matched everything up that I could and sewed all the pieces assembly-line style, because that is my favorite way to do anything.

I’ve only got four combinations up right now at my Etsy shop, but I am working to get more put up in the coming weeks.

I also started experimenting with some heat-transfer vinyl, but I have to perfect that method before I’m ready to do any personalization since I don’t have a cutting machine and am just using an exacto knife.