Thursday, December 30, 2010

Make it pink

So, as you should remember from last time, GEEKSOAP.

But let's start with the washcloths/dishcloths/massive coasters/totally not pot holders first before I go off on a feminist/video game history tangent.

This is something I started for the Kristen and didn't finish in time for some other gift-giving occasion.  Which wasn't her birthday, so it might be slightly less of a failure.  And I needed the hook, so then I had to figure out what hook size I'd been using.  And what the pattern was.

I could not un-see the completely obvious difference between the original rows and the new rows.  I'm sure after a few moments of staring at this picture, you'll be able to tell that I am insane, but the most important part of handmade presents is deranged perfectionism.

And stars work better with the theme anyway.  Kristen only gets one star to make up for the fact that I just made Steven circles because they don't take very long.

Trying to figure out which of the many available Princess Peach sprites would work the best was challenging.  As I predicted, I eventually just went with the select sprite from Super Mario Bros. 2.  Kristen and I always played as Princess Toadstool for what I assume were identical reasons: she was a girl, and she could fly.  Or maybe she couldn't actually fly, but she could glide on currents of wind.

I spent a lot of my youth desperately clinging to what few female playable characters there were at the time.  There was probably a point in my life where I would have had a definite preference for Ms. Pac-Man despite the fact that she was just Mr. Pac-Man in drag (did you know that modern children have so little familiarity with the Pac-Man franchise that when you make your own crude worksheet with little drawings, they'll assume that if there's Ms. Pac-Man, there must be Mr. Pac-Man?)

I decided that there had to be Yoshis.  And since Yoshi is apparently two separate sprites, and I'm lazy, delicate lady's Yoshis!  There was a brief moment of "Peach riding Yoshi from Super Mario World, but I don't really like those sprites for Peach.  (And now that I have mentioned this, it is only a matter of time before Kristen demands such a thing.)

As you can see, I quickly gave up trying to center the Delicate Lady's Yoshis since that involved too much math.  I considered the blank space and decided to put in Kristen's favorite kind-of-a-vegetable: mushrooms.

I toyed with the idea of making them pink since, duh, Kristen, but then I remembered the soap that had started this whole thing.

Here's a detail of Peach.  The crown is metallic and so is the brooch on the front of her dress (or whatever that blue thing is).  The blue thing is just a single French knot because there didn't seem to be a better way to do it in half or full stitches.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hey! Listen!

 The theme for this year's presents: I felt I had to get you something, and you smell bad.

Given my utter lack of time, social skills, and ability to feel anything for other people around the end of the semester, I decided that this was the holiday to get video game themed soaps for Steven and Kristen.

I looked into a bunch of things and finally went with GEEKSOAP.  I originally thought of getting controller shaped soap, but I decided that paying $10 for a bar of soap that looks like a video game controller is stupid.  Especially since that bar of soap will slowly gather dust until some sort of bathing emergency (and even then there's a good chance they'd just use shampoo or washing up liquid or something rather than damage SNES shaped soap).

I'll concede that Digitalsoaps look amazing...but I just can't bring myself to spend that much money on soap.  Even soap that looks like the Duck Hunt gun I was never fortunate enough to have.

With Steven the answer was obvious.  Well, mostly obvious.  I briefly considered the life meter bar for contrast (see entry on The Kristen).  But it's probably weird to give your brother-in-law something with hearts, and I could at least spring for full health.

The plan: buy soap, make towel and washcloths at least vaguely related to acquired soap.

You know how last year I basically gave everybody the exact same scarf but in different colors?  Well, here's the washcloth I'm giving everyone!  Recipients so far include my grandparents and Tammy.

What's nice is that if you don't want a washcloth, it's a dishcloth!  Or a large coaster!  Or possibly a trivet!  But not a potholder since it's full of holes and made of cotton.

After a lot of counting and math, I realized I could fit four Links on the visible part of the towel.  I asked myself, "Is Steven the sort of person to care about depicting the Links from The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures with sprites from  The Legend of Zelda: The Legend of Zelda?"

And then I noticed I was cross stitching Purple Link as I pondered this important question.

Late in the project I contemplated making bare-legged Links so I wouldn't have to worry about getting the backstitching to stay in place.  This was mostly to distract myself from trying to figure out the mouths and eyes (see Kristen's present).  Also, I thought that would be potentially hilarious.  Maybe next year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Your Pal Kate's XTREME Xmas Potatoes

This recipe is dedicated to my dear sister who, by not arriving until tomorrow, made it possible to make it.

What you need:

Red potatoes
Portabella mushroom caps
Scallions/green onions
White wine (you can use cooking wine, but you're not supposed to drink that.  Unless you're out of regular wine)

Cut up your potatoes into quarters or, for those of you who are bad at math, pieces that could be quarters.  Look, if God wanted you to be precise, He would've made uniform potatoes.  Boil the potatoes until you can easily pierce them with your stabbin' fork.

While potatoes are cooking, cut up mushrooms and scallions.  Combine mushrooms, scallions, about a tablespoon of butter, and some wine in a pot.  Add as much damn garlic as you want.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently.  If the spirit moves you, add some more wine.  If it's been one of those Christmases, add some wine to yourself.  You've earned it.

Drain and mash the potatoes (you know that weird thing that looks like a branding iron or some sort of Medieval torture device?  That's a potato masher!)  Add a modest amount of milk--how much depends on how much liquid there still is in the wine/butter/mushrooms/scallions mixture.  Add that in with the potatoes and continue mashing.  The potatoes should be creamy, but not diluted.  If this doesn't happen, apply wine to yourself until you no longer care about the potatoes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Black velvet if you don't please

Monday I was baking more cookies and making sure my hands were too covered in food dye to work on people's Christmas presents.

The only flaw in my ingenious plan to make more red velvet cookies was that I'd used up all the red food coloring to make the last batch of red velvet cookies.  So, looking at the available Wilton concentrated icing colors, I decided on purple.  I like purple, and one of the advent candles is purple for some reason.

I should've known better than to listen to the person who keeps giggling moronically because the directions say to shape the dough into one inch balls.

Plan B: black velvet.  Because that's a song.  And I briefly thought it was also a story about a horse until I realized I was conflating Black Beauty and National Velvet.  (If you ever need to explain your pal Kate to someone, just say that I have a big vocabulary and sometimes spend hours saying, "One inch balls" and laughing.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Romulus and Rebus

My sister's mother-in-law bought us tickets to the ice show (and I say "ice show" because that sounds way classier than Disney On Ice: Princess Wishes), so I figured I should make her a small token of my esteem.

I was working on this while waiting to meet with one of my professors.  Let me tell you, Internet, it is very difficult to explain the Gorn to someone who isn't familiar with Star Trek.  Having your Wonder Woman bag while you explain the Gorn you are cross stitching adds like +3 Coolness.

You can't really tell from the picture, but the caption (Thanks, Krissy) and the Gorn's dress tunic are metallic floss.  I would rather fight the Gorn than stitch any more metallic clothes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

He only pretends to like you because you give him food

 So, I've been busy trying to be a grad student.  Which, for the savvy academic, includes holiday bribes.

As you may know, my insensitive, egomaniacal nature has been considered "caustic" or "utterly intolerable". That's why I try to trick people into liking me by giving them food!  Horrible food, like candy coated Oreos!
 I also decided that, for students, the true meaning of Christmas is bribing your professors.

Having a lollipop mold that matched the gift boxes was a happy coincidence.
I really hope giving a Milton professor a tiny Satan doesn't backfire somehow.  Like losing points for not giving him wings.

I bought Creepy Cute back when I first started krocheting, and all I've done is make devils.  I haven't even used my smarts to make those bootleg Catwoman dolls I thought I could maybe, somehow figure out.  Maybe after the Xmas Sweatshop shuts down for the year.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas, I Choose You!

So, here's all I can really post since the Annual Christmas Sweatshop is in full swing.  Well, technically I'm behind, but I'm going to keep Christmas in my heart not just on Christmas Day, but every day!

By which I mean some of you won't be getting presents until February.

Jolteon's in the gift shop, I'm about to put Flareon there, and I think I'm going to keep Vaporeon for personal use.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Let Mortal Kombat Begin

Ninja cookie cutters are sort of ridiculously expensive for what they are (plastic outlines of ninjas), but can you really put a price on cookies shaped like ninjas?  Yes, and it's $12.95 at World of Mirth.

I haven't been inside World of Mirth for years, and going there again reminded me why: I'm poor.  Because I keep buying things like $13 ninja cookie cutters.  Also, I had to use a calculator to figure out the price per ninja since I am only smart enough to figure out that it'd be somewhere between $3 and $10.  Which is not very smart at all.

Anyway, this afternoon: ninjas!  From another classic Simonsen recipe: tube of dough and lots of flour.  Cover your hands in flour, spread some flour on the wax paper (once you have some), flour up the rolling pin, giggle inanely about the similarity between flouring up the rolling pin and other actions, and put some flour on your ball of cookie dough.

As a creative person, I don't really like "rolling dough to 1/4" thick" or "at least roll it out evenly."  Don't stifle me, basic cut-out cookies procedure!

I know that Scorpion doesn't really have yellow eyes, but I don't have any white icing.  Obviously I need to do something about this.

I'm using those tubes of cookie icing for the black.  As promised, it dries quickly, and Kroger ended up giving me one tube for free (I went back in when I noticed one of them had rung up full price, and I wasn't going to make trouble when the woman at customer service did a refund and dropped the icing tube back in the bag).  The details are writing icing, which also dries quickly.  If you have to stack cookies, don't use writing gel because it stays tacky and only ends in tears.

Here's two of the cookies that went into my karate teacher's Christmas gift/bribe.  There was some sort of epic battle in transit, so one of them ended up with no legs and the other one was somehow decapitated. But what really matters is that the bribe worked.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shortbread Cookies

Here's an actual Simonsen recipe for all you young go-getters out there.  Or rather, a Simonsen recipe that involves some bare minimum of effort.  Also by Simonsen recipe I mean I got it off the internet.


  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar (the powdery kind)
  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • chocolate chips, nuts, and/or mini-M&M's
  • electric mixer because you've got shit to do
  1. Leave your two sticks of butter on the counter and go watch TV or something.  Putting butter in the microwave to try to soften it up faster will probably end in tears.
  2. Mix butter and confectioners sugar in the electric mixer.  Practice delegating authority by leaving the mixer to do its job while you look up super important things on the internet.  The end result is smooth and fluffy.
  3. Sift together flour and cornstarch.  Like in Little House on the Prairie times.  I like to split up the flour and put the cornstarch in the middle so it feels like this is actually accomplishing something.  You want to sift into a small, separate bowl or you'll completely ruin everything forever.
  4. Gradually add flour/cornstarch mixture to butter/sugar (See, this is why you should've paid attention to #3).  Start by adding in small amounts at first, then get impatient and add the rest of the damn thing in.  Remember that your mixer has already proven itself and can be trusted to handle mixing while you check your email.
  5. If you're getting dough stuck on the sides or to the beaters, turn off the mixer and use a spatula to push it back down/get the dough off the beaters.
  6. Add in chocolate chips or nuts.  Walnuts and macademia nuts are really good with the shortbread.  I was going to try pecans, but I ended up pouring them in my mouth by mistake.  The person I stole this recipe actually, like, measured the chocolate chips, but you can't let people boss you around for the rest of your life.
  7. Shape dough into little balls.  Sometimes the dough will be very sticky and sometimes it won't.  Seriously, I have no idea what makes it act differently.  Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for ~20 minutes at 325° F (No, not those balls).
  8. Allow cookies to cool before removing from cookie sheet, otherwise they might crumble (some of them might do that anyway.  Give failure cookies to appease hovering family members).
You can use food coloring to make the dough exciting, festive colors.  Darker colors (red, blue, purple) work better since having to pour a buttload of food coloring in can mess up the texture.  The taste was fine, but...well, you can at least call the green ones Grinch Testicles for extra holiday cheer.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another traditional Simonsen recipe

It's Christmas food pushing baking season, so I've already got ~30 shortbread cookies in the freezer and a three pack of Pillsbury Place and Bake Christmas cookies in the fridge.  Pillsbury Place and Bake cookies are probably about the laziest things ever, since you only need to be able to turn on an oven and remember to both put the cookies in the oven and take them out again, but people really like them.  And they're good for making ridiculous cookie sandwiches!

Excessive Cookie Sandwiches

Ingredients: Pillsbury Place and Bake Holiday cookies, frosting, sprinkles, maybe some food coloring
  1. Place and bake cookies according to package instructions.  I don't remember what the package actually says, but cooking time is much closer to 10 minutes (especially if the oven's been on for awhile)
  2. Allow cookies to cool, then frost wrong side of cookie and stick another cookie on it
  3. Pour sprinkles into small dish, roll frosting center in sprinkles until you have a needless, diabetic-killing sprinkle ring around your cookie sandwich
  4. Defensively inform those who suggest there is too much sugar involved that they don't have to eat any cookies
And since place and bake cookies require no effort, that leaves me time to ponder if I totally need Ninjabread Men cookie cutters.  Naturally this only requires limited pondering.

This year I've had a hard time of finding those pre-made sheets of sugar cookie dough.  Yes, they make those for people too lazy to buy the tube of sugar cookie dough and roll it out to the appropriate length.  I want you to know that I am completely okay with only caring about decorating the cookies.  Rolling cookie dough is a pain in the ass.  And how am I supposed to figure out arcane things like some fraction of an inch thick?  I'm not Einstein, damn it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

So, here's how one looks after a sleep deprived evening finishing one's Catwoman mask.

Since this mask is looser than the other one, I added a button to the back so I could tighten it once it was on.  Naturally, it is a button I found that could potentially become incredibly necessary, but that I feel is better used to tighten my Catwoman mask.

The real Catwoman may have a natural affinity to cats, but my mask seemed to upset Zoot.  Which is good since I didn't want to get light colored cat hair on my crime-committing suit.

Also in this picture you can see the sewing machine that broke before the dress was finished.  The actual dress was a very last minute purchase from the dancewear store under Premiere Costumes.  I'm pretty sure it's liturgical dancewear, but it probably isn't when you wear boots and carry a cat o' nine tails.

Apparently I don't have any pictures with the cape my mother made.  I made two cat's head pins out of felt to attach the cape (since the collar was canceled).  I got the idea from this costume variant, but I remembered it wrong.

I'd like to alter it to try to put a slit in the dress, but I can't sew and I suspect the seamstress might be reluctant.  And dancewear is expensive, yo, so I'm reluctant to try it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Your Face is Your Fortune

There's nothing quite like the quiet dignity and grace of dragging a scrap of fabric up and down Ben Franklin's yarn section so you can get the right color for your Catwoman mask.  Golden Age Catwoman, not Batman: The Animated Series Catwoman.  TAS Catwoman was like, so two months ago.

Still, it could be worse; my nose could be gushing blood I could have one of these masks.  I am old enough to remember the tail end of the "plastic mask+plastic smock with a picture of who you're supposed to be" era of children's Halloween costumes.  I remember being absolutely thrilled to have a store bought Moondreamer costume, not some lame costume my mom made me that actually looked like the thing I was supposed to be and didn't obscure my vision!

Like everything I loved as a child, Moondreamers was a cartoon that existed to make me want to buy things.  It had something to do with space and possibly lessons about "teamwork".

If this picture isn't my actual costume, it's probably pretty close.  As you can see in the picture of the character on the tunic's crotch, she didn't actually have the Moondreamers logo or a picture of herself on her crotch in the actual cartoon.

Anyway, it's the Black Kitty Hat pattern, with the same alterations for my enormous brain.  I tried to make an opening in the back for my hair, but that didn't work.

This time I used Lion Brand Wool Ease instead of Red Heart, and for some reason I was able to do the connecting chain thing and still pull the mask over my head.  I think this yarn has more stretch to it.

Despite the solemn vow I made during my last Catwoman project, I did not actually crochet the eye holes straight onto the mask because that would probably have taken careful planning and spatial reasoning skills.  I made a chain and decided that maybe I'd make another chain.

I figured trying to sew things to a mask currently on my face was a bad idea.  Especially since if I stabbed myself in the eye with a needle, I would have to explain that it happened while I was trying to sew a Catwoman mask I was wearing.  Also, I might get blood on my mask.

I would need some method of attaching one item to another item so that I would be able to sew them together while not at risk of yet another moronic injury.  Pins!  But the kind of pins that would not horribly backfire when you removed your Catwoman mask or your analrapist head-stocking.  Safety pins!

You know you've made the right choices in life when you find yourself wearing a crocheted hood with a string pinned to it while crocheting another string from the other side of the yarn.

Eventually I'm going to have to figure out that "MySpace angle" all the kids are using.

If you look closely, you may notice that my mask does not actually hide my identity unless you are unable to recognize facial features or we are in a manga (which I guess is kind of the same thing).

I wasn't happy with the way the eyes turned out on the last mask, so this time I decided to err on the side of too big/completely useless if I try to steal something.  I might do something about this, but then again I am incredibly lazy.

I think the most important lesson I've learned is don't sew your ears to your mask without checking how it looks.  Because then you will get to know the joy of removing the ears while terrified you will accidentally cut into the base of the mask and have to start all over.

I guess finished pics after the holiday?  I feel like you'll all be much more impressed with the finished project if you only think about me staring at you with my dead eyes like the world's least impressive Mexican wrestler.

Monday, October 18, 2010

BATS--The big, bug scourge of the skies!

Friday was this month's Movable Feast, so I decided to be nice and bring in food.  And by "be nice", I own too much Halloween themed baking shit, and I'm probably not going to have a party this year.  Also, I assume "bring in food" is roughly equivalent to "donate money for all the free wine I intend to guzzle".

I assume we all have fond memories of ghost cakes from Halloween Past.  The only thing to say is that trying to find the pan instructions on the Wilton website is a pain in the ass.  Seriously, why do I get Spooky Cinnamon Rolls before I get "here is how to bake things in this pan"?  Wilton's instructions also assume I have the fortitude to bake 18-20 ghost cakes, which would require washing the pan multiple times during baking rather than putting it in the sink and waiting for the mythical Brownies to clean it.  (IMPORTANT: Do not say any stupid poems and look in a reflective surface or you will learn an important lesson about performing household drudgery.)

I have no idea why I don't remember to always just put melt the frosting (especially if the structural integrity of your cake surface is less than ideal).  Take the top off, make sure there's no foil on the can, and stick it in the microwave for 30.  Stir, and enjoy a smooth, glossy texture.

The tormented souls doomed to wander the Earth on the right have melted frosting.  Those miserable spirits trapped between worlds on the left have room temperature frosting.

If you're not going to let some baking goods company boss you around and are only capable of enough motivation to make 6 ghosts, you'll have enough cake batter left to make 12+ cupcakes.

I'm not really happy with the purple frosting.  It's paler than I'd hoped, and I want you to know that I was most generous with the concentrated "violet" icing color.

Wilton started selling molds for candy picks for those of you who feel that a single serving of frosted cake does not provide enough sugar.  And for jerks like me.

And they've got bats.  I could bake cupcakes in bat-baking cups and then put bat-candies on top of them!  And then after Halloween, I can just make non-holiday themed Bat-cupcakes!

Unfortunately, the Bat Candypick Mold does not come with the Dark Knight's tactical mind or even the Dominoed Daredoll's shopping abilities because it turned out that I had just enough orange candy melts to make 7 bat-candies.  There are 12 11 cupcakes.  I'm not so good with the math, but I suspect that 7 is not 12 11.

Today's candy-related blonde moment: I have red candy melts and yellow candy melts.  Red and yellow make orange.  There must be some way to turn this to my advantage...

(The candy mixing reminds me of my grandfather's Kodak retirement party)

When you're making orange, you generally want to use more yellow than red.  However, it is possible to mix red candy melts with yellow candy melts to make orange candies.  The message here is that arts education is important and is useful in the real world.

Although a bigger problem for me seems to be remembering not to fill the entire candy mold when I only need 5 4 stupid candy picks.  Damn it, I really am horrible at math.

Bootleg Orange is a little bit darker than Licensed Orange (and it's just now occurred to me that I'm not actually using Wilton Brand Candy Melts, but their Ben Franklin cousin.  Fortunately, I enjoy verbally undermining copyrights).  I assume this is the sort of thing that nobody cares about.

  Next super-important problem to solve: what does one do with spare candypicks?  The options are either bring them tonight or chuck them in with the candy-coated cookies I'm definitely not going to forget to bring to karate again.

 I did think about bringing the cookies with me tonight, but I figure there's a difference between my definition of nice and the sad, desperate girl with no friends who bakes all day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

612 Wharf Avenue

Have I complained about Blogger's new photo uploader?  Because I should.  But I'm going to complain about other, epically important things instead.

It's Halloween season, which means it's once again time for candy-covered Oreos!  Well, candy-covered Store Brand Chocolate Sandwich Cookies because I'm not made of money.  You're looking at basically an entire package of Store Brand Chocolate Sandwich Cookies that have been pressed into sweet, sweet candy.

There was some confusion about the candy making process in Modernist Literature, so, here's Kate's Old Fashioned Candy Recipe:

  1. Buy a package of candy melts.  Prepare delicious,
  2.  "homemade" candy by opening the package.
  3. Pour candy into bowl and melt in microwave
  4. Spoon candy into plastic tray shaped like things
  5. Tap tray against counter as if this will actually remove the air bubbles
  6. Press Store Brand Chocolate Sandwich Cookies into candy
  7. More tapping
  8. Place tray in refrigerator to set candy
  9. Go watch TV
  10. Remove cookies from tray, using hand or knife to remove any excess candy around the edges (if you are Kate, do not use a knife because you will probably injure yourself and then feel compelled to tell everyone the real, idiotic story rather than making up something with slightly more dignity)
  11. Shamelessly accept compliments on delicious, "handmade" treats

Mixed in among the cookies are skulls.  

I was really excited to find the candy skull mode.  Most of you will assume that this is my usual, world-hating cynicism, but the depressing thing is that I was briefly capable of genuine happiness when I thought about making candy skulls.

What I didn't realize was that the 3-D Candy Skull Mold has 8 cavities, but each skull has two pieces (don't ask me how I interpreted "3-D" when I thought I could make 8 skulls at once.  I don't know either).
This means you can only make 4 skulls at a time.  Another issue is that you put candy in the mold, put it in the fridge to set, and then paint melted candy on the back of one skull piece to "glue" the pieces together.  

Fun fact: the melted candy sets in the fridge, but it will also harden at room temperature  [inappropriate joke]. So, by the time your skull pieces are ready for assembly, you need to melt a small amount of candy.  There's also the issue of whether or not your front and your back will be perfectly flat (Spoiler Warning: They won't be) and getting them to fit together.

They look really good, and if I needed some mindless repetitive task to put off reading British literature, I'd probably get into full sweatshop mode on these...except I think the shape/design of the human skull makes it unable to stay upright in all of its 3-D candy glory.  Once again, I think Wilton is just giving me these impossibly awesome looking pictures so I can be taunted by my candy crafting inadequacies (See also "Painting Candy Details")

Sunday, October 10, 2010

T is for Tiger and Thessaly

 Thessaly's birthday was this weekend, so naturally I started working on a toy for her well in advance and then somehow ended up working until the last minute.

Which is why I have no progress pics.  Anyway, this is a pattern from Amigurumi Two with some modifications.  Shown here, I've just realized, with my first sad attempt at an Ana Paula pattern--Ugly Cup.  Ugly Cup's punishment for my failure is to be jabbed with pins for making me feel bad about myself.

I wish Tina Tiger Hello Tiger's eyes were a bit bigger, but what's the point of having assorted cat eyes if you don't use them?

All of the stripes on her face are individually crocheted and then sewn on.  The muzzle's also a separate piece (the head itself was worked from the top down).  The skirt was something I improvised the night before.  It's worked in double crochet because I was hoping to make the blue border a ripple pattern (like the bag I made for my first Glee swap and the afghan I'm working on now).  Ripples require either multiple rows or advanced math.

Because children's toys are serious business, I decided that this was a female tiger, and the only way to ensure that seemed to be clothing.  If Hello Tiger ever gets a male friend, he's going to be wearing pants since I irrationally dislike female animals wearing clothes while the male animals are naked since that just encourages the idea that male is the default.  Maybe it's not irrational.  Maybe the patriarchy just doesn't want me to use handmade stuffed animals as an outlet for my feminist fury.

Anyway, the original pattern has the tail solid orange like the arms and legs, but I figured it was worth the extra effort to add the stripes.  For those of you playing along at home, start the tail with black yarn (you're starting at the tip that's what she said).  Work about 3-4 rows in black, then change to orange.  I just sort of eyed it to see what would look best.  Also because at some point during the tail I lost count of my stitches.

 Naturally I missed the shot where Hello Tiger is lovingly hugged, but at least Hello Tiger is at least as entertaining as emptying gift bags.  I did consider using the box my new boots came in since the box is always the best part of any present, but do I really want to have it confirmed that you can fit a one year old in the box my shoes came in?

I was really proud of myself for remembering not to carry my Wonder Woman purse while wearing my Wonder Woman shirt...and then I gave a Batman book and a Wonder Woman book along with Hello Tiger.  Clearly I should've gone with my Catwoman shirt to tie all three presents together.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Kitchen of Tomorrow

I think everything I've recently finished/am working on is a present for someone else, so maybe it's time to talk about my spite-present from Kristen.

When I first heard about the The Star Trek Cookbook, I was like, "Making food I have no intention of eating but want to bully others into consuming?  And Star Trek?  I am all about this!"  And then I saw that it involved Neelix.  For those of you who actually go outside and have friends, Neelix is the worst Star Trek character ever.  He is the Snarf of Star Trek.  And based on what I've learned from The Star Trek Cookbook, he is also a teetotaler:

If you're serving this dish to your family, however, and are not out in one of the great national parks on Earth, you probably won't want to include the booze--nor should you--but you can add a down-home Smoky Mountain taste with a product called liquid smoke.

And then there's three different non-alcoholic versions of a drink "reputed to have the devastating impact of a photon torpedo".  None of which look like they'd be anywhere close to the color shown on screen.  (Which seems like an incredibly nerdy objection, but I don't think it's possible to be "jiggy with it", as the kids say, while getting cocktail recipes out of The Star Trek Cookbook.) I assume that, as usual, the answer is vodka and food coloring.

In the spirit of spite, I decided my first Star Trek cooking project should be full of two things Kristen hates: Voyager and mushrooms.  Jeri Ryan's Wild Mushroom Soup is good, but not actually a meal unless you're contractually obligated to stuff yourself into a Borg catsuit.

Food to assimilate:
  • 1 pound assorted mushrooms, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large russet potato, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 quart chicken stock, defatted
  • salt and pepper to taste  for chumps to add to their own damn soup later
I feel there can always be more potatoes, so I grabbed a few red ones instead of one large russet.  I still have absolutely no idea what it means to "defat" chicken stock or how exactly that happens.  Also, you can buy jars of pre-minced garlic.  If this has any effect on the taste, I just want to remind you that there are few things more delicious than laziness.

Sauté the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil (or, my preferred technique, what looks like an appropriate amount) until tender, then add the remaining ingredients.  This is possibly missing a step if you're using bouillon cubes to make your stock (1 cup of water for each cube, 4 cups in a quart)--I sauted the vegetables in a smaller pot while making the stock in a larger one.

The recipe says to let the whole thing simmer on medium-low for about twenty minutes, but the potatoes are still going to be fairly firm (especially if you are an individual and thus incapable of precision dicing).  Put them in the soup while you're sautéing everything else.         

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You know that Glee crafts swap I posted about awhile back?  Somebody's partner went missing, so I volunteered to do another package.

I did most of this bag while sitting in traffic on the way to Michelle's.  I dithered back and forth about the yarn, but decided that this way the only possible choice for someone who liked pink and brown together (and natural fibers, since this is Bernat Cottontots)

The handle is Vanna's Glamor gold.  I originally planned to make a gold star using the Super Mario pattern, but the yarn isn't thick enough.  I got through a few rounds of the star before realizing that, even if it worked, it wouldn't work well--the star would be too small and/or impossible to stuff.

I went through a few crochet star motifs before finding a pattern that made sense and was incredibly quick: Crafty Nerd's Star Scarf.  I made two of the stars (in a much smaller hook, but I can't remember what I actually used), and put one on each side.  The handles are rows of 10 (?) double crochet.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ahead warp factor fun

Depending on my cruel masters' instructions, I am done with my TNG cross stitch.  I could go either way on adding metallic outlines to the logo.  And by "go either way" I mean I'll do it, but I won't enjoy it dammit.

Trying to make the badges two colors was probably a mistake.  I used the same technique for the TOS delta, but the silver doesn't really show up against the gold.  I think I'd need to make the base bigger to make it worth the effort but, like a total nerd, I've tried to approximate the comm badges in one square.

I decided that Data shouldn't be smiling, so along with changing his hair, I also changed the backstitch for the mouth.  Had I planned ahead, I would've also incorporated the Riker lean.

I don't know what's going on with that one eyebrow, but I want you to know that I'm really proud of myself for giving Troi cleavage.  That is the sort of attention to detail you get from my stitching.