Demented Ramblings life is too short to refrain from eating jam out of the jar

9Apr/130

not dead, I swear

I'm even still crafting! Oh! The crafts! Sock monsters and ceramics and knitted things and tunisian crochet and felted items and hand spun yarn and Big Bob is finally in progress! I rarely take time to post anything more than a quick photo to fb before moving on to the next thing.

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29May/120

Super lemony lemon bars

I got this recipe from my pop, he'd clipped it from the local paper. I made this for a barbecue I attended this weekend and it went over very well. So well that I must now share the recipe.

Lemon Bars

butter for greasing pan
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
3/4 cups powdered sugar, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
6 large eggs
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest

Heat over to 350F. Grease a 9 inch square pan. Combine 2 cups flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and blend with pastry blender or your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Press into greased pan, pushing dough all the way up the sides.

Bake until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes, then remove and reduce oven temperature to 315F.

Meanwhile, in another large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until smooth. Gently stir in lemon juice and zest. (To minimize aesthetically displeasing little bubbles on the top of the bars, avoid whisking further.) Fold in remaining 1/2 cup flour.

Pour egg mixture over hot crust and bake until curd is set and no longer jiggles when you move the pan, 35 to 45 minutes.

Cool thoroughly before cutting into bars. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. Makes 9 servings.

**Now, I did not follow this recipe exactly. I used a 9 x 13 pan, so my bars were a lot thinner and I actually liked them better than the original which were very thick. I kept an eye on the pan both trips through the oven, but didn't note exactly how long I left them in the oven. I also added more zest than it called for, I just zested all of the lemons that I used to get the proscribed amount of lemon juice.

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5Feb/120

Needle case

I've gotten this really bad habit of buying new knitting needles every time I do a new project. This means that I have several of certain sizes. Surprisingly though, I have fewer needles than expected. Today, I made myself a caddy for my knitting needles/crochet hooks. I'm quite pleased. I'm also quite pleased with my sewing machine and the fact that I can sew through 8 layers of fabric without it complaining.

Here's the open caddy:

And here it is all rolled up, with a Moe beside it.

It was a quick project, using fabric from my stash. Yay for not having to purchase fabric!

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25Jan/122

My tinsel scarf

As I have stated elsewhere, I popped into my local yarn shop the other night and saw this really neato demo scarf and declared that I must make it. My yarnmonger gave me a quick tutorial and set me free. I found the yarn rather awkward with my limited knitting skills, but I enjoyed it and am looking forward to making another one.

First, a picture of the finished scarf, wrapped around my neck several times as it is somewhere around 10 feet long.

Next, a picture of a single strand of the scarf. I swear it looks just like this tinsel we had on the Christmas tree when I was growing up.

Now, I have promised Miss Cara a tutorial of sorts and I will do the best I can with the whole 4 inches of yarn I have leftover.

First off, here's the label:

Here's what the yarn looks like:

You are to knit with that little ladder section along the top and keep the rest flat.

I was instructed to use a size five needle. I fear that this may have added to the awkwardness as I am not used to using anything this small. I mostly use an 8 minimum. Also, these are spiffy casein needles and are much slicker than the wooden/bamboo needles I usually prefer.

First up, fold the end over a couple of times and insert your needle, this hides any ugly end on the yarn.

From here on out, I'm going to undo that fold. Ya know, four inches for demo and all....

Pick up the first 5 sections of the ladder:

Next, start knitting into the next section, each ladder section is one stitch:

It's a simple garter stitch from there on out. I've tried to separate a couple of rows to show you what the inner bit looks like, but it's tough to do.

One thing I noticed, my scarf is much more compact than the original demo. Mine is more tinsel, it was more boa. Turns out that when I flipped the label over, there was a pattern. It's quite a bit different than what I did, but I really do like my tinsel scarf. For the next one, I'll most likely try this other pattern.

So, there ya go, my first ka-nitting tutorial. I hope it makes sense. If not, go visit Miss Stephanie at A Tangled Yarn and she will be most happy to show you how to do this. She was kind enough to help me out.

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11Sep/110

A new direction…

I've been busting out the Trip Around the World quilts for years now. They're super quick and easy and make a pretty, colorful quilt. However, I'm tired of the design. Each quilt is as pretty as the last, but I'm just ready to move on to something new. On the other hand, I didn't want some super detailed pattern that would take hours to make one block. I found a cute, easy pattern the other day while browsing the craft blogs and thought it would be fun to try.

My color choices for this one were inspired by a quilt by Rachael Adele creations, otherwise known as my dear cousin Mindy.

Here's the finished top:

The pattern was easy to follow and not terribly time consuming. At least, I didn't notice the time passing. Here's the pattern I used.

As for the back, I'm still thinking about what I want to do there. I've found myself really drawn to quilts without a plain backing. I've been really drawn to the ones with a row of small rectangles across the back. That may be what I do, but for now, I'm going to let it sit while I consider my options.

5Sep/110

a long hiatus from creativity

I've let the depression rule my life for the last several months. However, in August I started feeling better and cleaning the house. Now that I had a nice clean craft table, I decided that it was time to put it to use.

Several months ago, my cousin mentioned to me that her youngest child would love one of my baby quilts, even though she is hardly a baby anymore. She told me that the kiddo loves pink and yellow. I found the perfect fabric in my stash and as I dug through I found that I had already put a top together with just that fabric. Joy!

Tonight, I finished it up. This is also the first quilt I've done on the Viking Rose that I bought from my auntie. I have to say, it's a danged nice machine. There's some puckering in the back, but that's more due to me using a basting spray instead of pinning everything really well. I don't think I've had a quilt not pucker in the back ever. It's the nature of the beast.

I was quite pleased though with NOT having to fight with a machine for the first time ever. I may not have figured out all of the bells and whistles, but this thing sews a straight line like a dream!

Here's the finished quilt:

I hope the recipient likes it as much as I do.

Next up - I think I'll work on a sock monster! But first, I must sleep.

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23Jan/110

The last January birthday present

My mommy didn't want anything for her birthday, so I'll probably just buy her dinner. Besides, I kind of blew out on her for Christmas.

My friend Dream shares a birthday with my mommy. She's recently become addicted to Angry Birds and I'd thought of making her an Angry Bird plush like I'd seen over at Obsessively Stitching. I'm especially in love with her piggies. However, when it came time to start work on the gift, I just wasn't feeling the birds.

So, I called up her hubby, who clued me in to the fact that she'd been silently coveting the sock monsters. Thanks again, Homes.

It seems that each monster gets more detailed than the last. This one has teeth, a gothy collar, earrings, silly hair and a tattoo. I introduce to you - Fang von Lichtenstein, the Baron Fang von Lichtenstein to you lowly peons.

Why yes, that IS a Horde tattoo. Freehanded even! And here he is with his new person.

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21Jan/110

I think I have a little problem

So, I have been thinking for the last few days about starting a new quilt. Digging for fabric in the closet led me to digging out all of the fabric in the closet. But this is not all of the fabric that I have. There is some in the cedar chest of doom, but I knew it wouldn't go with the fabric I'd already chosen as my inspiration.

First surprise, I found an already assembled top in the Trip Around the World pattern, using the exact yellow fabric which was my inspiration. Obviously, something had drawn me to it.

I kept digging to see what else I could find. Oh kiddies, your Ysha is quite ashamed of herself. I sorted the fabric into non-quilting, cotton and flannel. And like I said before, this isn't all of it. I know there's half a bolt of the green dragon flannel left from MY quilt in the cedar chest and the fabrics that I used when starting Boo's quilt are in a bin.

I spread the flannels out so that I could see what was there. I couldn't fit it into one photo on wide angle (ok, I was sitting in the floor right next to it, I might could have if I'd backed up). It took three frames and I still may have missed a few. In my defense, I bought most of this several years ago at JoAnn on Black Friday for $1 a yard. But this is still a silly amount of fabric.

I didn't even spread the cottons out, I just left them in their nice little pile, there's not nearly as many of those.

This doesn't even count fat quarters and other such things.

SomeONE (me) needs to get cracking on some baby quilts this year. Even if I never branch out from the Trip Around the World, I need to work some of these up and find homes for them.

15Jan/110

Whatever happened with all that pink fabric?

Obviously, I couldn't just post a picture of it last week, I wanted to keep it under wraps until the birthday girl had seen it.  And usually it's my rule that the recipient must see the gift before the intarwebs at large.  Tho' sometimes, if you see me in real life, I'll show you a sneak preview pic on my phone.  I had trouble keeping quiet about this one, I was so proud of the results.

I will have to give a thank you shout out to my friend Homes, who not only pushed me away from a skull necklace and toward pearls (much more Mimi) he also recommended a tutu.

Without further hubbub, I give you - Miss Penelope Jean, the pink hippo or pippo.

Here she is, on the guest bed, chilling with Lenore, giving you a good view of her sparkly pink eyes and the huge fluff that is her tutu.  I love how one ear lies down and one stands up, she demanded to be that way no matter how much I argued that her ears should both do the same thing.  It gives her pizazz.

Showing off her pearls.

And with her new person, I believe they will be a good match.  Mimi seems quite happy.

Usually, I don't name my creations, I allow the recipient to do that.  But Penelope whispered her name to me while I was sewing her together.  But maybe she'll whisper a different name to Mimi and her name will change.

Except for the buttons that I used for her eyes and nostrils, and a little bit of fleece for the tail, everything that went into this project came from my craft stash.  Some of this fabric I'd been hoarding for years waiting for just the right project to come along.  It did.

8Jan/110

New year, fresh start

I won't promise to be diligent with this journal.  I am a known slacker and am entirely too old to change.  However, I'm going to make an effort here to keep up with this thing a little better.  There are so many beautiful things out there and I'd love to be able to perhaps inspire some one person as I myself have been inspired by so many.

I thought I'd start by posting a preview of a project that I'm about to start on.  It's a birthday gift for a friend and from the color selections (and the fact that her birthday is next week) it won't be difficult to guess who this is for.  But this is before any cutting has taken place.  I don't want to give too much away.

I recently bought my grandmother's Viking Rose sewing machine.  This will be my first project on the machine.  I hope it and I can come to terms enough to sew something relatively simple.  I have another sewn project in mind for another January birthday.  Otherwise, I'll have to come up with a completely new idea.

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