Thursday, December 16, 2010

Georgia the Giraffe


Being an aunt is pretty awesome. Not only do I get to play and cuddle up with my nephews, I get to buy them cute clothes and toys.  What's better than that? What about making the clothes or toys?
Since I started up crocheting a little bit ago, I found some super cute stuffed animals to make. I've done a little bit with the owl ornaments, so I thought maybe I could up the scale a little. 
My sister requested a stuffed animal giraffe for her son for Christmas. She sent me to the Lion Brand website lionbrand.com . It was pretty much the cutest thing you'd ever seen! I was ready to take on the challenge, but I one little draw back: I didn't know if I'd have enough yarn to make it. My mom has a whole arsenal full of yarn from my grandma who used to knit up a storm. She gave me some golden rod colored yarn that I thought would be perfect, but was there enough? 
Yes! There was enough! (...but I had to make its arms a little shorter than the pattern called for, leaving me with a scrap of yarn to spare.)
The pattern is called  Georgia the Giraffe . Boy or girl, this pattern is adorable and it only took me a little over a day to get it done. Perfect for any nephew of mine.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

holiday sales

Two weekends ago, I was in two holiday sales: the first was at the Printing & Book Arts Center, where I rent and work on my printing, the second was at my sister's apartment. These being my first sales, I was kind of nervous and didn't know what to expect really. By the end of the sale at the Center, I was talking more and trying to explain how I print everything. It was an experience I hope not to forget and will build off of in the future.





I am now selling my cards on etsy.com. http://www.etsy.com/shop/MountainPiePress?ref=pr_shop_more. It's a great website for handmade things and vintage pieces. Once you start looking, it'll be hard to stop! Happy handmade Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

[Almost] vegan magic


A few weeks ago, my husband and I got to visit some of our friends that are vegan. (As of late, they now eat eggs, but still no dairy.) When we went out to dinner, the babysitter that stayed with their kids and made vegan cut-outs. To be honest, I was a little unsure, but they were delicious! The recipe was from the cookbook, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope. I quickly copied down the sugar cookie cut-outs recipe, but then stumbled upon "Magical Coconut Bars." If you really know me, you know I'm all about coconut. This recipe has also been called "Seven Layer Bars" or "Magic Bars." Instead of using butter with the graham cracker crust, you use margarine and instead of sweetened condensed milk, you cook a can of coconut milk and some brown sugar on the stove. Genius!
The day after I got the recipe, I made these magical coconut bars. They're [almost] vegan because I didn't have any margarine, so I used butter to make the crust. That's what happens when you have to make do... and like my Mom always says, "Butter makes it better!"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Supersize Me

I had a request for a bigger owl. I tried to take the smaller owl and double everything, but it didn't work. After some failed attempts, I went online to find another animal that I could turn into an owl. I found a teddy bear; of course I didn't need the arms or legs. The result: Papa Owl!



I made another small owl to show you how much bigger we got.  I hope that the little boy this is a Christmas present for, loves him as much as I loved making him.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Deck the halls ...or door




As I mentioned in an earlier post, I said that I was going to be making some banners for the holidays. There's a set of large wood type at the Printing and Book Arts studio, and I knew they would be perfect! Each letter is printed on a 4.25" x 5.5" piece of 100% recylced cardstock. Each letter is strung together with various festive ribbons (red, green, silver and gold). I hope these banners help to bring cheer, joy and hope this season.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grandma's Slipper Pattern

You will need 3 colors, a H hook (or larger to obtain the correct gauge; 16 sc = ~4")
This pattern is for a Ladies' size 7-9. I used an F hook and it made a size 6.

Motif A (make 2):
With MC, ch 5. Join with sl st to first ch to form a ring.
1st rnd: Ch 4 (counts as tr). Work 17 tr in ring. Join with sl st to top of ch 4. 18 tr. Fasten off.
2nd rnd: Join B with sl st to any tr. Ch 2. (Yoh and draw up a loop) twice in same st. Yoh and draw through 4 loops on hook. Yoh and draw through rem 2 loops on hook - counts as cluster. *Ch 1. (Yoh and draw up a loop) 3 times in next tr. Yoh and draw through 6 loops on hook. Yoh and draw through rem 2 loops on hook - cluster made. Red from *around, ending with ch 1. Join with sl st to top of ch 2. Fasten off.
3rd rnd: Join A with sl st to any ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as dc). 1 dc in same sp. *5 dc in next ch-1 sp. (2 dc in next ch-1 sp) twice. Rep from *4 times more. 5 dc in next ch-1 sp. 2 dc in last ch-1 sp. Join with sl th to top of ch 3.
4th rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in same sp as last sl st. 1 sc in each of the next 3 dc. 3 sc in next dc. *1 sc in each of the next 8 dc. 3 sc in the next dc. Rep from * to last 4 dc1 sc in each of the last 4 dc. Join with sl st to first sc. Fasten off.

Motif B (make 4):
With MC, ch 5. Join with sl st to first ch to form a ring.
1st rnd: Ch 4 (counts as tr). Work 17 tr in ring. Join with sl st to top of ch 4. 18 tr. Fasten off.
2nd rnd: Join B with sl st to any tr. Ch 2. (Yoh and draw up a loop) twice in same st. Yoh and draw through 4 loops on hook. Yoh and draw through rem 2 loops on hook - counts as cluster. *Ch 1. (Yoh and draw up a look) 3 times in next tr. Yoh and draw through 6 loops on hook. Yoh and draw through rem 2 loops on hook - cluster made. Rep from *around, ending with ch 1. Join with sl st to top of ch 2. Fasten off.
3rd rnd: Join A with sl st to any ch-1 sp. Ch 3 (counts as dc). 1 dc in same sp. *5 dc in next ch-1 sp. (2 dc in next ch-1 sp) twice. Rep from *4 more times. 5 dc in next ch-1 sp. 2 dc in last ch-1 sp. Join with sl st to top of ch 3.
4th rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in same sp as last sl st. 1 sc in each of the next 5 dc. *3 sc in next dc (corner made). 1 sc in each of the next 8 sts. Rep from * twice more. 3 sc in next st. 1 sc in each of the next 14 sts. 3 sc in next st. 1 sc in each of the next 3 sts. Join with sl st to first sc. Fasten off.
Sew motifs along with the diagram.


Sole:
1st rnd: Beg at center back heel seam, join MC with sl st. Ch 1. 1 sc in same sp. Work 1 sc in back loop of each sc around. Join with sl st in first sc. 80 sc.
2nd rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in first sc. Draw up a loop in each of next 2 sc. Yoh and draw through all loops on hook - sc2tog made. (1 sc in next sc. Sc2tog) twice. 1 sc in each of next 19 sc. (Sc2tog. 1 sc in next sc) 8 times. 1 sc in each of next 19 sc. (Sc2tog. 1 sc in next sc) 3 times. Join with sl st to first sc. 66 sc.
3rd rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st to first sc.
4th rnd: Ch 1. (1 sc in next sc. Sc2tog) 3 times. 1 sc in each of next 12 sc. (Sc2tog. 1 sc in next sc) 8 times. 1 sc in each of next 12 sc. (Sc2tog. 1 sc in next sc) 3 times. Join with sl st to first sc. 52 sc.
5th rnd: As 3rd rnd.
6th rnd: Ch 1. (1 sc in next sc. Sc2tog) twice. 1 sc in each of next 11 sc. (Sc2tog. 1 sc in next sc) 6 times. 1 sc in each of next 11 sc. (Sc2tog. 1 sc in next sc) twice. Join with sl st to first sc. 42 sc.
7th rnd: Ch 1. (1 sc in next sc. Sc2tog) twice. 1 sc in each of next 9 sc. (Sc2tog. 1 sc in next sc) 4 times. 1 sc in each of next 9 sc. (Sc2tog. 1 sc in next sc) twice. Join with sl st to first sc. 34 sc. Fasten off. Sew flat sole seam.


(This pattern is a Bernat pattern. I didn't make this pattern; I can't take the credit. I just copied on here to make it easier to follow. The original pattern can be found at http://www.bernat.com/pattern.php?PID=4739&cps=21191 .)

If you make a pair, send me a picture of them and I'll post it for everyone to see!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grandma's slippers

Winter is coming, which means wool sweaters, warm blankets, hot chocolate and cozy slippers. I had a pair of slippers that my Mother-in-Law made me last year and I loved them! I wore them all day everyday... until the felt sole wore through. I did put slippers on my Christmas list, but my cold feet couldn't wait that long, so I hooked some up myself! I give you Grandma's slippers!


They are three hexagon granny squares sewn together with the sole crocheted onto the slipper. The pattern jumps around a bit making it a little confusing to follow (just ask my Mother-in-Law! She taught me how to crochet, yet when she was trying to make them herself, she was coming to me for questions.)
I used a regular worsted yarn for the hexagons and "Thick & Quick" yarn for the soles to slow down wearing over time. Granny Squares are great because you can use any colors you want and make them your own. If anyone is interested I can post the pattern for you all to give these a try. Happy Homemade Christmas!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

pizza night

Growing up, my Mom always made homemade pizza. A few times I remember asking for Pizza Hut pizza for my birthday dinner because we rarely went out. Now that I have a place of my own, I want to make the pizza, so last night was pizza night.
My husband and I made a rule that when we made pizza, we have to make it different each time. That was another thing, my Mom always put on the same ingredients... and still does. (I love you, Mom!)

Tonight's pizza: Hawaiian!
Ingredients: ham, pineapple, banana peppers, garlic, mushrooms, cheese and sauce.

We have our pizza making down to a science. Preheat the stone in a 425 degree oven while assembling the pizza on a cornmeal covered pizza peel.


Because of the cornmeal under the dough, you can  slide the pizza onto the hot stone. This makes a great, crisp crust.


After about 15-20 minutes you have a delicious pie! Add a spring mix salad and your favorite beverage and *presto!* it's pizza night. (And if your husband happens to surprise you with flowers, all the more beautiful your table will be.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Let me introduce: Mountain Pie Press

For the past two weeks I have been printing holiday cards. Yes, I know- it's not even Thanksgiving yet! Well, like any store this time of year, you need to set up early to get some good business. So far, I've only been printing cards, but I will be making holiday banners (pictures coming soon), too.
It has taken me a while to think of a good press name to stand behind. Alliteration is a good tool; I wanted it to be catchy. After all the brainstorming, I settled on "Mountain Pie Press." Mountain pies are delicious concoctions made up of two pieces of sandwich bread filled with pizza makings or even pie filling, then put in a pie iron and cooked over an open fire. I was first introduced to them when I went to my husband's parents' house. Long story short, I liked the rustic and homemade feeling of the name.



So far my cards have been printed on 100% recycled Kraft Taupe and White cardstock. I hope to get more colors soon. Each card has 2 or 3 colors and comes with a Kraft Taupe envelope.
I will be selling my wares at the First Friday Holiday Sale at the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education's Printing and Book Arts Center, Dec 3rd. 6-9 pm and also at my sister's apartment where she'll be having a Holiday Sale on Dec 4th from 10-7 pm. (If you'd like more information, just leave me a comment.)
I hope this gets you in the Holiday spirit! I also encourage you to buy from local artists this upcoming holiday season, or better yet make handmade cards and gifts. 'Tis the season to be crafty- Fa la la la la, la la la la!




Thursday, November 4, 2010

calendar girl: part 2 & 3

For those who have been sitting on the edge of your seats in anticipation of my next post, I'm afraid this is shamefully overdue- for that, I apologize.
I have been regularly working at the print studio to finish up my portion of the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education Printing and Book Arts Calendar - that is a mouthful - and I am pleased to report that it is finished! Through a series of editing/proofing all the artists' names and processes have been corrected and I was able to print my final color yesterday afternoon.
For the back cover, I used three colors.
First color, very translucent yellow to print the wood type.
Second color, light opaque yellow to print the paragraph about the GCFAE & PABA.



Third color, black to print each of the artists' names, processes and such. (My name is smaller and at the bottom right.) Proof on the left, final print on the right.



It has been a good learning experience for me. I'm really fast at finding and setting type from the cases and this was my first time (ever!) printing with more than one color. I'm excited to start working on my own projects now: Christmas and Holiday cards. I just ordered some more paper and envelopes, so I will be posting my cards on here as early as next week.
-> If you are interested in purchasing a calendar, please let me know, so that I can set one aside for you. They are priced at $25 cash/check or $35 with a credit card. They are really fun & show a wide range of style and creativity... totally unbiased here, totally.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

proof #1


This is the first proof that I pulled this afternoon. I rolled the ink on it instead of inking up the press because I didn't want to clean it up for printing a few proofs.
Thanks to my cousin, Jessica, I changed "Decemer" to "December." It usually takes a few sets of eyes to make sure everything is correct.
One of my sisters said that I should make this into a calendar by printing all the dates for months on the bottom. That's definitely a possibility. Any feedback is always welcome!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Calendar girl

I am so fortunate to be able to rent studio space at the Genesee Center for the Arts and Education at their Paper and Book Arts Center. Last year as a fundraiser, all the renters collaborated on a calendar to print and sell. This year, since I am one of those renters, I am able to help with this year's calendar. Sadly, I don't have a month to call my own, but I am designing the back cover which includes all of the artists' names and information about the Center.
For the first part of my layout/design, I used various wood and metal type and set the months of the year. I'm hoping to print this in a pale, transparent yellow. The cover to the calendar is bright green this year and so I don't want my first layer to stand out as much. I will post pictures of my progress as things are printed. Here is my form so far. It took about 3 hours to do and I loved every minute of it.


...and in setting type, you always make sure everything is spelled right before you print and I just noticed that I misspelled "August." If you see any other mistakes; let me know.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

boy owl

The past few months I have been crocheting more regularly and only started crocheting little stuffed animals within the past month. I guess I thought that they would be too complicated to do. On the contrary, they're really easy! After my first post I present- Owl, a friend from college asked if I could make another owl; a boy owl.
This is the third and best owl I have crocheted so far. I think I'm getting better with reading the directions and crocheting continuously in a spiral. There's lots of stitch counting, so it's hard for me to listen or contribute to any conversation. (The owl pattern is supposed to be for an ornament, but I will be weaving the top end in.)
I hope the little guy that this is a present for likes this little guy-- boy owl.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

warm & cozy

I have a friend that is having a baby in December. She isn't sure whether it's a girl or boy, so neutral colors are safe when thinking about gifts. I came across this hat pattern on http://www.lionbrand.com/. I had bookmarked the adult size pattern, but then found the same pattern for a baby (Mini Trick Hat) and knew that it would be perfect for this little one. I opted for taupe as the main hat and wheat for the earflaps and brim. The pattern called for Lion Brand Wool-Ease Think & Quick yarn. It sure is thick and quick; I had to use a K hook to get the correct gauge and it only took less than two hours to hook up... heh, I mean to crochet. I made the newborn size, but the pattern also has 12 mo and 3T sizes.
I hope this inspires some of you to get out your knitting needles or crochet hooks and help some little one keep warm and cozy this winter.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Window Dressing: Part Two

I think I work best under pressure, i.e. deadlines. I usually procrastinate; especially with papers  in college. My mother-in-law is coming for a visit this weekend and I really wanted to finish our living room curtains.  I was going to make a basic full window curtain, but my husband thought that maybe each room could be a little different. The new idea? Pinch pleats at the top. Brilliant! Five pleat groups on each side, three pleats to a group, one inch deep pleats. (See picture below.) Then I hand stitched the group together. And no, I didn't just think of this on my own and whip it up in an afternoon. I was advised by Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts, under "C" for curtains.


The fabric, from JoAnn's of course, is a woven home decor fabric, with pinks and greens. It's pretty much perfect. 
Like always, I conclude with Before and After photos. I hope I have awoken the inner Martha in all of you... it's a good thing.




Monday, October 4, 2010

the royal treatment

Just after my husband and I got married, we were blessed to borrow some furniture from my sisters; three chairs, a coffee table and a dining set.
The dining set is vintage with a white and blue porcelain enamel top. We were so happy to be able to use the set and didn't care at all that the chair cushions were faded and little stained. My brother-in-law had purchased fabric a few years ago from Fabrics & Findings in Rochester, but just didn't get around to reupholstering the chairs.
As of late, my husband has taken on this project (repainting and reupholstering) and I would love to share with you how it is going. So far only one chair down, but one is enough for a before and after picture, right?




The table top has a blue diamond pattern, so the fabric reflects that. Also, the fabric has gold in each diamond dressing it up a bit; taking it from the country to a night on the town. I think the Queen would approve.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bonjour!

What better way to start a Fall Saturday morning then making French toast with homemade cinnamon swirl bread? On the side, coffee in a French press. Oui, oui!
Since being married, we haven't purchased any bread; we either use the bread machine or make it by hand. Last week I had a request from my husband to make a sweet bread, probably because he was bored of plain toast for breakfast. Out of my library of cookbooks, I found a cinnamon swirl bread recipe from Taste of Home's Best of Country Breads. It was a hit. A few days later I made a couple more loaves, one with raisins added and the other regular. The latter was a house warming gift for a friend.


French toast is my absolute favorite breakfast meal and so I had planned to make French toast from this delicious sweet bread.
I wish all Saturday mornings were this tasty.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Window Dressing: Part One

A good part of my day yesterday was devoted to sewing, something that I wish I would do more of. All of our windows have blinds, but I really wanted to put up curtains to make our apartment feel more homey. I found all of our fabric on clearance at Jo-Ann's. For those of you who know me, I'm all about finding a good bargain. The fabric was only $3/yard!
For the kitchen I picked out a blue and green paisley print that also has bits of yellow to match the yellow on the walls. I opted for cafe curtains and then added tabs to the top. Here's the before and after:

Next task... the living room.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't you just love NY in the Fall?

The leaves are changing, time for snuggling up on the couch drinking warm apple cider, and pumpkins! Here he is; a cute little guy. He was supposed to have a little leaf on the top, but I thought that made him look like an apple. This pattern also came from lionbrandyarn.com.
I may have to take a little crocheting break. My husband keeps asking me about the curtains I said I'd make last month. Whoops! So many projects so little time, right?
Enjoy the lovely Fall weather!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I present- Owl

I remember in college staring at the computer screen trying to figure out how to start writing a paper. Eventually you type, keep typing, reread what you wrote, delete half of it and keep going. Here I find myself in the same boat; how do I start my first post... maybe I'll show you my latest project.
I present- Owl.  I found her on lionbrandyarn.com where anyone can register for free and get great patterns for knitting, crocheting and felting. She was my second attempt; number one didn't look so cute. These cute little stuffed animals are pretty easy to hook up (get it? crochet... you use a hook... hook up) Next in line- pumpkins.