Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lotion Bar Tutorial

These are the ingredients you will need. The original recipe I started out with called for 3 oz. cocoa butter, 3 oz. sweet almond oil, 3 oz. beeswax all melted together in a double boiler. This recipe yields a very waxy, hard substance. While some individuals may enjoy these hard, waxy bars, I prefer mine much more malleable.

DK's Lotion Bar Recipe
4 oz. beeswax (I used unbleached because the color of the end product is not an issue for me)
4 oz. hazelnut oil (any skin-friendly oil will do, really, but I like hazelnut because it is absorbed very quickly)
4 oz. cocoa butter
4 oz. coconut oil (I added this because it is excellent for skin and melts at 78F, yielding a much softer product)
desired fragrance or essential oil(s)

Step 1:
Get yourself a double boiler set up. Mine was a metal bread pan set inside a large skillet filled with just enough water to get the job done. (Please disregard the dirty KitchenAid on the left; my kitchen is a working kitchen and as such does not always get cleaned up spic-n-span after each and every use.)

Step 2:
Put your beeswax into the top of your double boiler and start melting your cocoa butter if it is in containers you cannot easily remove it from.

Step 3:
Put the (now mostly melted) cocoa butter in with the beeswax and start melting your coconut oil if it is not already warm enough to be liquid. Mine had been living in a kitchen cabinet and we generally keep the heat set at 65F. Add the hazelnut oil (or skin safe oil of your choosing) at this time as well as 4 oz. of the coconut oil as soon as it can be measured.

Step 4:
Wait. Everything has to get all liquid and mixed well. This is a good time to go hang out with a friend or catch up on the latest They Might Be Giants podcast or something like that. I took obligatory pictures of cute fluffy birds with my brand new camera. Bird didn't like the flash, but Lily was fascinated with it until I got 3 feet away from her with it; then she started screaming bloody murder...

Step 5:
When everything is all melty and nice smelling, it is time to remove it from heat. This is very easy to do if you have an actual double boiler, but if you are like me and made up your own device the removal process could take a bit of finagling.

At this point you have a couple of choices. You could decide that you are done right here and now and package it all up. You could also add whatever kind of skin-friendly fragrance oil or essential oil you like. A little bit really does go a long way with this stuff. If I were going to perfume the entire batch I would add somewhere between 1 and 2 teaspoons of fragrance oil, less if I'm using essential oils as they are stronger.

This is what is left of a 4 oz. bottle of vanilla perfume oil C's mom left when she moved. The little green bottle is labeled "African Musk" and came from a small cedar box full of such small bottles of lovely smelling liquids C's SIL left behind when she moved. (And I absolutely love each and every one, even the one that I think smells like cat piss (because it only smells like cat piss when I try to wear it; smells great on C) Thanks H!)

Step 6:
Add fragrance(s)! I had previously set refilled both cocoa butter containers with plain, unscented lotion. I dumped the above bottle of vanilla perfume oil into what remained and the picture below is what is looked like immediately following. The perfume oil was cool enough to solidify part of the oil/wax mixture. So back onto the double boiler it went until it was homogeneous once again.

I poured out this little dish of plain vanilla scented lotion and decided to add rose oil to one of the cocoa butter pots, so it went back into a (much smaller) double boiler to reliquify.

I then added approximately 1/4 teaspoon of oil from the little green bottle to what was left in the bread pan as well as a little extra coconut oil for extra melt-ability...

and poured it into a small crock for a large vanilla-musk scented massage bar.

This is what was left of a small roller bottle of rose oil I had had for a little over a year. I used to wear it every day until I lost it for a few months. It is what I added to the one cocoa butter pot I had put back into the double boiler you can just barely see there on the right.

And this is the final result! One very large vanilla-musk scented massage bar, one unscented 2 0z. container of lotion, one rose scented 2 oz. container of lotion, and 1 (I think somewhere between 1 and 2 oz.) container of vanilla scented lotion. The Ginseng Rose Balm was something I bought kind of on a whim from Cheryl's Herbs where I had purchased everything save the perfume oils and coconut oil (which was already part of my pantry for use in my hair) earlier that day.

The Ginseng Rose Balm smells absolutely amazing! It is wonderful on my lips and I also now use it as a face moisturizer instead of the chemical-laden Dove brand stuff I had been using. It does not have any SPF, but I think I can handle not having SPF on my face for a while since it is winter and I don't spend a lot of time out of doors in winter time.

These lotion bars are really great for individuals with allergies or chemical sensitivities as they can be tailored for specific needs. If I were making something for Mom L, for example, I would not have used hazelnut or coconut oils as she is very allergic to nuts (to the point of ER visits and hospital stays). I would probably substitute jojoba oil, olive oil, avocado oil, or some combination thereof for both the coconut and hazelnut oils in such case. Doing this would yield an even softer lotion that would have to be packaged in some sort of a pot as it probably would not hold its shape in a bar very well.

It should go without saying, however, that even the hard, waxy bars from the original recipe should be kept in a relatively cool, dry location; definitely not in your pocket or in a hot vehicle on a sunny day.

I, personally, am allergic to many kinds of perfumes. I can't use any sort of fabric softener or dryer sheets without breaking out in hives. Being able to decide what kind of perfume and how much I use, if any at all, is something I really, really enjoy. Also, the painful, scaly patches of eczema on my shoulders are once again under control. I love this stuff!

I'm back

from the land of the ice and snow.

No joke. We got 18+ inches of the darned white floaty stuff the night I got in and were subsequently stuck in the "missionary house" until late the next afternoon. It was never above 20F until the day that I left, but then I was in Grand Rapids and it started snowing big puffy slippery snow that makes it hard to see where you're going and even harder to drive well.

Pics of wintryness and wedding forthcoming; as is a photo tutorial about lotion bar making. Woohoo!

This is what greeted me when I was sleepily uploading pics from the camera the other night after I got back. Cute preeny birdie being really sweet and preening me without even asking for head scritches in return. (He ended up getting lots of head scritches after he finally decided he was done preening me. Lily still seems to be upset that I left in the first place and I'm not allowed to touch her.)

Have a great day everyone. Stay safe and warm!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mosaic for Monday

I'm a little chicken-happy today. I really wish I could have chickens in the city, but I really don't think my landlord would approve.

1. needle felted chickens
2. whimsey-jar chickens
3. chicken soup pouch
4. Chinese chickens
5. Rocking chickens
6. Two Chickens
7. marching chickens pouch

Friday, December 12, 2008

ready to go

Two gift crates packed full of crafty and spicy goodness, ready to go to Michigan with me. Bottom one is for Mom and Dad, top one is signed and dated 12/20/2008 by C and me for a combination wedding/holiday gift for my sister. While there are now, I realize, a few things that should have gone into the one for Mom and Dad before I nailed it shut and bent the nail so that I can't get it back out again, there was no extra space left in the one for my sister. C even got out the really nice jar or pink Himalayan salt chunks his mom gave him so I could nab a couple to fill up the last bit. Since this is a combo gift I wanted to make sure there was enough in there that she didn't feel like I was skimping. Not that she would think that necessarily, but I really, really wanted it to be nice for her. The crates themselves were discarded from the spice shop where I work and were handmade by skilled craftsmen/women in Wisconsin.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I bought this for $2.99US at Hancock last night. It solves an issue I've been mulling for quite a while. I won't post what issue because I think the individual involved will be reading this and I don't want to spoil anything.

I've made a claim!

And been claimed in return. In the Craftster Ongoing Wish Swap 41, that is.

I claimed Craftster lapoli for a wool sweater, lavender buds and something inspired by her wists. I have the sweater and lavender buds all set to go. I'm finishing up a bag inspired by this one in her wists tonight. The orange sweater is really more of a mustardy yellow in real life. The green is a vintage curtain panel (polyester I think, that or nylon, it really could be either) for the bag proper and the white is a floral patterned polyester for the lining. You can actually see the textures if you click on the image for a larger view. Same goes for the rest of the pics in this post, with the sole exception of the fluffy bird pic taken with the webcam.

Looks to me like a pretty fun package to receive. What do you think?

I am also working more on bridesmaid dresses tonight. Pics of the dresses will be coming shortly. I promise. I should probably be posting pics as I go, but I think I'd rather just post the entire process at once. Sewing this stretch satin stuff is pretty intimidating, even with a machine. I think it's because I'm concerned about them being as perfect as possible since they're for my sister's wedding. Only about a week to go now. Eep! I need to hunker down on this wedding sewing business and stop doing things like adding to my wists (there's a new feature over there on the right showing you all of my own wists, by the way), listening and dancing to salsa music on Pandora, and giving out free head scritches.

But, seriously, who could say no to that much fluffy green cuteness whispering "come here" and making kissy sounds? Huh? Yeah, that's what I thought; you wouldn't be able to, either. That's Bird hanging out with me after I got home from work tonight. He's my buddy. I call him "Bubba," but I'd advise against it for anyone else as he gets kinda angry at C sometimes if he calls Bird Bubba.

I promised pics of thrifted and thrifted-felted goodness a while back. Here you go!
Clockwise, left to right:
1. dark red polyester blouse
2. heathery-purple lambswool sweater to be felted
3. pink, lightweight, cabled lambswool sweater to be felted (I hope some of the cabling texture will still be there after felting)
4. grey, oh-my-goodness-it's-so-soft-I-can't-believe-it, cashmere sweater size XL (still waffling between keeping it for myself or felting it and making matching mommy-and-me hats/mittens for newly re-found best friend)
5. 100% silk, 1 size too big for me blouse (keeping for myself for a while yet as part of my work wardrobe, maybe I'll take it in or maybe I'll leave it roomier)

Felted child's sweater from an earlier post cut up. This piece will be a nice hippy-ish/faery-ish warm hat.

These pieces will turn into spearmint-filled cat toys like the one below.

This one will soon be (hopefully) thoroughly enjoyed by Eloise the cat, my now ex-roommate's kitty. Eloise went nuts when we had spilled a bag of dried spearmint in the kitchen one day so it seemed appropriate. Makes me wonder if catnip is really all that it's made out to be as far as cat toys are concerned. Maybe it isn't just catnip but plants in the mint family in general that cats seem to love so much?

Friday, November 28, 2008

more thrifting

I left the house in a hurry Friday morning and subsequently forgot my dress blouse for the concert shift. I was wearing a company polo shirt, but we're not allowed to wear those for concert shifts. Bummer. And I didn't realize it until I was already to the Grand Station on the Metro; way too late to go back and get my shirt or to call C and have him help me out since he had to be to work 1/2 hour before me.

Good thing I had some $ in my pocket with my ID and MetroPass. Thrift Plus had a 50% off everything but furniture sale today. I picked up a great dark blue silk dress blouse and a burgundy polyester one as well as several more sweaters for felting. I'm debating keeping the grey cashmere one for myself or felting it and making matching warm, fuzzy hats for my newly re-found elementary school best friend and her 1 year old daughter.

C apparently found a terrific package deal on a new digital camera and that is my holiday gift from him this year. The battery is charging right now, but you can be certain I will be posting lots more pics of things from here on out. Yay! I think the first post containing pics with the new camera will be a tutorial for handmade lotion bars. They're solid bars of lotion-y goodness that melt at skin temperature and help keep my eczema-prone skin happy all year. I used the last of a lotion bar I had purchased at a craft fair a while back and my skin has been upset with me over it ever since. I'll be stopping by Cheryl's Herbs just down the road from the spice shop later today after I get out of work to pick up some beeswax, a little more cocoa (or maybe shea butter), and maybe some other things.

my craft-related wishlist

I'm going to be participating in the Craftster Ongoing Wish Swap #41 in December. So here is my Wish List! I'll be adding and editing as the swap progresses throughout the month.

bolded items are really big wishes!

Crafted Items
- cardboard, paper, or natural cotton shredder/preener toys for my medium-small size parrots (similar to anything on this site just without dyes as I think one of my fids is allergic to something in certain dyes, makes him really sick and pukey :( )
- cute ruffle apron (like from here) in warm earth tones
clothespins with crows or some other bird on them similar to this
- handmade hot pads/potholders
- fabric shopping bags in manly-type fabrics (for my boyfriend to keep in his car for when he randomly decides it's time to go grocery shopping on the way home from work)
- knitted size XL (US women's 18-20) shrug so I can wear some sleeveless lovelies to work, prefer black/charcoal/grey/etc. for color
- fabric roll container thing for my crochet hooks (I keep them in a hard plastic pencil container right now, but that's also where I keep my needles and threads for small embroidery and sewing projects that I travel with)
- thread catcher to use with my new sewing machine
- thumb pincushion, natural fiber fabric preferable
- clothespin bag for the clothesline outside
- fabric napkins to pack in lunches, bright colors preferred
- knit legwarmers (I have large calves, so a size XL I think maybe?)
- all natural body powder, would love something in rose, bergamot, ylang-ylang, or a combination thereof
- handmade dryer balls (to reduce static without using chemicals I'm allergic to)
- basket to help organize WIPs (boyfriend is annoyed with the embroidery in the living room, crochet in the bedroom, sewing on the kitchen table, etc. all the time) any medium you like
- handcrafted brooch, any medium
- sturdy fabric wallet (I've been carrying my ID and such around in my pockets and frequently misplacing them for the last year since I completely wore out my duct tape one)
- recycled bottlecap fridge magnets

- wool or cashmere sweaters for felted crafts
- cotton or linen bias tape
- rotary cutter or mat
- yarns appropriate for simple crochet projects (so far I'm pretty good at blankets, hats and scarves :D)
- old jeans (for squares for a quilt I have been working on slowly for a couple years)
- rickrack or lace
- darning foot for my sewing machine (Bernette 66)
- 2 inch squares of cotton fabric for another quilt I'm working on, any color/pattern
- stuffie patterns (sewn)
- pinking shears

- postcard from your area
- sachets for clothes drawers (lavender, rose, cardamom, cinnamon, cedar, etc. would all be wonderful)
- heirloom vegetable seeds
- marigold and/or zinnia seeds, any variety
- I would absolutely LOVE any old Foxfire or Mother Earth News you find or do not want
- a favorite recipe or two

Thursday, November 27, 2008

woohoo safety gear!

Or, What I used to do for a job. I'd say what I used to do for a living, but it really didn't pay well. I got to wear nifty safety gear, though, and that was fun. The puking and diarrhea after accidentally splashing the chemical neutralizer in my mouth was not fun at all, however.

results of thrifting a couple weeks ago

All sweaters have now been felted with the exception of the cardigan and they are all quite lovely. The green one is super thick and yummy; I think I'll make potholders out of it. And I think the multi-colored one is still destined to be mittens, possibly for a lucky Craftster member in one of the Ongoing Wish Swaps. Who knows. Pics of felted goodness forthcoming. :)

my apologies

It has been a heck of a week here. No time at all for blogging. A week ago this morning my little Crash-inator had a heart attack. She squeaked with everyone else when I came out into the living room in the morning and then when I opened the window shade she started flapping and screaming frantically as only a dying lovebird can. Poor little thing. :( I miss her a lot, but not nearly as much as Bird. He's heartbroken once again in life. He blames me for the fact that Crash went away and hasn't come back.

These were both taken about 2 years ago when C and I were living in Mt P, MI. She never really liked socializing with me much; she'd rather hang out with C while he was gaming. She sure liked playing in my hair. though.

Bye Little Squeaks. We miss you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

embroidery update

I'm working at the spice shop all day today. No time for anything related to the internet or blogging or crafting. Here is a pictorial update on some of the embroidering I've been working on. I also went thrifting for wool and new to me clothes at the Salvation Army last night after work. Pics of soon-to-be-felted goodness forthcoming.

Mosaic for Monday

1. The Red Door
2. Color Me Red ! ~ Free Burma
3. Red Flower for Fabio
4. One Red Egret Feather

6. Red and colorful parrot
7. red hands sewing
8. Red Riding Hood bunny
The Big Red Button

kitty hat

It seems that I have been making the same mistake repeatedly for the last few days. Clicking the "SAVE NOW" button does not, as a point in fact, publish your blog posts so that others can see them. Oops! Sorry about that. Four new posts today because I have been internet-stupid and not reading the things I have been clicking for my blog posts.

It's cold here again. Always happens this time of year, but it seems to have happened more abruptly than normal this year. As a result, C did not have his winter hats or scarves washed up and ready to go soon enough. So he got out this little number I made up for him last year.

Polyester faux fur, cotton/poly lining, satin ear lining. All fabrics were salvaged or leftover from previous projects. The satin came from an absolutely gigantic butt bow from a 1980s-era prom dress, the faux fur from pieces leftover after making my warlock's minion Halloween costume a few years ago.

sweater recycling

I went to Thrift plus across the road from the box office today looking for sweaters. I was initially looking for a great cardigan to add to my winter wardrobe. I did, in fact, find a terrific charcoal colored cardigan with real shell buttons that fit me just like I wanted. I have since removed all of the buttons except the extra one sewn into the side seam and the one at the very top since I never plan to have it all buttoned up.

While shopping at thrift stores for new to you clothes is indeed one way of recycling unwanted clothing that would otherwise just take up space in a landfill, another way is to use those nice finds that you absolutely love but would never wear or fit into.

Among the rows and rows of sweaters brought out for the season, I found the sweetest little 100% lambswool sweater in black and almost neon oranges, yellows and greens. It is a child's size large, so it would never fit me. And even if it did, the pattern and colors would keep me from actually wearing it very often, if at all. It is very soft, though, and I imagine that it will felt up quite nicely in the washer and dryer since it is already partly felted. I plan to make a hat and child's mittens lined with flannel as well as some smaller stuffed animals. Maybe a felted sweater elephant! Or some acornaments (hehe!) like the ones I featured in the mosaic on Monday.

You can also recycle sweaters by unraveling them to have yarn of your own to play and craft with. A very nice tutorial for this can be found here. There were lots of other nice wool, wool blend and cashmere sweaters I was practically drooling over. I think when I finish with the one I brought home I will snag a few more and turn them into pretty, soft, crafty wonderfulness also.

holiday gift

One half of a holiday gift for a very close friend. There is a matching hat as well, I just haven't seamed it up yet. Both items need the yarn tails woven in before being wrapped up.

The individual meant to receive this gift has since decided to get married, obligating me to make him something much larger for a gift. I think he will be getting his crocheted afghan, in shades of blues, shortly after the holiday season.

Hard to see in this pic, but there are 2 different oranges used; one dark reddish and the other just rather orange. There are flecks of the orange colors as well as reds and greens in the blue I used as well. Yarns came from C's sis-in-law's yarn stash; which C gave me when his bro and sis-in-law moved overseas this summer.

Friday, November 7, 2008


That was the greeting C got when he came home from work the other night. I decided I wanted something sweet and chocolaty to eat at about 10pm and set about searching the tubes for a one particular egg-less, butter-less chocolate cake recipe I found about a month ago. The cake it made was oh, so moist and rich and delicious and contained a seemingly sinful amount of dark cocoa. Too bad I forgot to bookmark the recipe or copy it down in any way at all. After several minutes of fruitless search engine queries, I gave up and searched for what looked like a good brownie recipe instead.

This is what I found. I followed the recipe as it was written for the first batch*, with the exception of adding 1teaspoon of minced, dried lemon peel and 1 teaspoon of lemon extract. (More on fun times with lemon extract later in this blog.) Those ones were pretty good, but C and I both agree that the cocoa with the lemon didn't work really well with this recipe even though it's a combination I usually love. They were still brownies and yummy nonetheless, but the second recipe was what elicited my zombie-like "ohmigawdbrownies!" response to C walking in the door saying "Hi, how's it goin'? You're up later than usual."

I doubled the initial recipe outright, omitting the cocoa powder altogether. I added an extra tablespoon of Mexican vanilla extract (arguably my favorite item at the spice shop), 1 rounded teaspoon instant coffee granules (I think I have Folgers, but I don't believe it would make a difference one way or another with this one), and 1/2 teaspoon espresso-grind Cafe Bustelo (seems to be about the only kind of coffee C and I can both agree on) as well as... drumroll, please! Approximately 1/2 cup of cacao nibs I bought from Whole Foods about 3 years ago.

I didn't bother measuring or anything, just dumped the bag in there and mixed it in with everything else. OMG they are good. You should totally make them. Or something similar since, you know, I know that not everyone has a half eaten bag of cacao nibs sitting around the kitchen and I'm a proponent of using what you have. I think they would be just as delicious with coarsely chopped extra dark chocolate mixed in. Or maybe even coarsely ground coffee beans if you're really into getting a caffeine fix with your dessert-like foods that probably shouldn't count as breakfast but do every once in a while when you're not feeling like actually cooking something in the morning.

*Please note that I did not, however, make the icing/frosting for either of the batches.

Today's agenda:
ticket wench (but only for 8 hours today)
more embroidery (seems to be my default activity lately)
more granny square making (if I get my yarns and completed squares out of C's car before work)
hang out with the birds some
tear out the tomatoes and figure out what to do with all those green ones out there
WoW it up with C and our friend D and the new guild

my apologies

About a week ago, I set myself the goal of posting here almost every day. It's been a couple days since I have had time to come here and share though; lots of hours working at the spice shop. Hopefully all these hours will add up to being able to rent a car so I can go to my sister's wedding next month.

Here's what I made the towel yarn into:

It's a bath rug for in front of our shower/tub. I got tired of slipping all over on the linoleum flooring in there every time I stepped out of the tub. One of the towels I used didn't stand up to being washed and dried very well once it was cut up. I still have some more old towels to be used up though, so I can easily mend what went wrong.

On the agenda for today:
work at the spice shop
more embroidery
buying a shovel (if I manage to get to a hardware store before it closes today) to manage the compost pile out back; it needs to be dug up, turned and partially buried again

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

some post election-day fun

I haven't gotten pics of any WIPs or finished items. C and I went to Sam's Club to stock up on more kitchen staples yesterday we found a pretty decent digital camera for something like $120. I really want to get my Etsy off the ground soon, but it'll have to wait until I have a way to take decent pics of my items. That will have to wait until I can justify spending $120 or so on something that is not food staples or other items necessary for a properly operating household.

There was a fun little meme over at Cheap Like Me yesterday. Some fun things are on the list so I figured I'd give it a go this morning.

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Mark any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos Rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding (sounds less appealing than whole insects, but I managed those just fine)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp (not as bad as some people say it is, as long as it's properly gutted and cleaned; tastes like any other white fish actually)
9. Borscht (I absolutely love beets, but somehow I've managed not to have eaten this yummy-sounding item as yet)
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho (ridiculously yummy, my favorite item at the local Vietnamese place)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes (Purple Cherokees are quite delicious, which is really saying something for someone who despises tomatoes in general)
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras (thinking this probably isn't my cuppa)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese (boiled brains weren't bad, but this concept isn't really appealing at all)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (are you kidding?)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (not so good raw, they tasted like I was drinking Jewell Lake back home. ICK)
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut (I love just about anything cababge)
35. Root beer float (I agree with Cheap, even yummier with vanilla vodka)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (those crickets were pretty darned tasty, actually)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu (don't think that's something I'll be trying)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (yay Coffee Concerts at the SLSO)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (not so good, really)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (sounds great to me, just like normal mashed taters, only fried instead of boiled)
60. Carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads (would never try this)
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (looked like alien fetus and made my friend's apartment smell like a litterbox)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis (I'd rather not)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (count me out for this one)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe (delicious)
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (when the mailman hits a deer at the end of your driveway in northern Michigan in the middle December you don't question that it's roadkill, by all counts it's freshly killed venison and you clean and freeze it just like you would had someone actually hunted it)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers (there are so many kinds of edible flowerswith so many different flavors)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish (not a big fan, but it's considered comfort food where I come from)
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta (great just about any way it's prepared)
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake (Not opposed at all to eating it, just that it's not something one usually goes hunting for. That and the roadkilled ones aren't generally salvagable as far as eating them goes. Fishing bait, on the other hand, is a great use for roadkilled snakes.)

Monday, November 3, 2008

towel yarn

Made from old towels cut into long strips. That's my handy dandy size Q hook there in my hand. Can you guess what I'm making in that pic?

I'm busybusy with all the crocheting and embroidering going on lately, but an update with the finished project will be coming soon. There will also be an update on some of the embroidery that I have finished for my sister's quilt.

Current WIPs:
embroidery (and lots of it!) for Sister's quilt
49 blue-colored granny squares for gift for H's upcoming wedding
4 bridesmaids' dresses for Sister's upcoming wedding
cleaning and organizing the bedroom and back room (so I can turn the back room into a crafting room and be out of C's hair whenever I have sewing and embroidering things covering whatever area I had chosen for a temporary workspace)
4 white, fluffy faux fur boleros to go with the bridesmaids' dresses (surprise for sis and all involved since it's going to be December in Michigan and it's usually COLD)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

love monster

I call her the love monster. I made her up back in June of this year for C's birthday and he hasn't given her a name yet. I don't think he plans to. She is crafted from very soft, white faux fur with a really, really long one way nap and soft, but not quite as soft as the white, black faux fur. My own pattern. All hand stitched and hand embroidered. Ear tassels made of black, white and red embroidery floss. Eyebrows and dots all along tail are tri-colored french knots. Boy, did those take some time. She is stuffed with polyfil that I dumped a bunch of my rose perfume oil all over so she smells like me. C said she's one of the nicest things he's gotten as a gift in a while.

Ooh! I just realized that you can see some of the copper gelatin molds hanging above the stove. I love those things. So pretty by themselves what with the copper and all. And they make lovely jello things. Hm, I wonder if I could bake in those...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

texture love

I just found this blog by potter Joy Tanner. These pics are from her blog. I am totally in love with her use of texture. And the soda fire makes her work even more attractive to me.

Wow. So nice. Be sure to check out her Etsy!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Progress is being made on the embroidery front. I've spent most of my non-office work time crocheting and watching TV with C, feeling really uncomfortably ill and crocheting or some other combination of those things. I picked up the butterfly quilt block again yesterday afternoon.

The butterfly is looking ever so pitiful yet. I went over the transfer pencil marks with red china marker at work. The non-circular dark pink circle on the left is courtesy of not being able to see those red transfer pencil marks on that fuzzy dark fabric.

I'm not yet sure what stitches and threads I want to use on this heart. I got this book here from the library a couple weeks ago. I'm sure some perusal will help me decide.

I just love the public library. I also brought home books about felted crochet, art quilts, applique quilting, and floor coverings the last time I visited. All that information and entertainment available in a concrete, I-can-take-it-home-with-me form that's usable even when you can't get to the internet. Maybe some day I will write a crappy love poem to the library. Maybe even mail it. I'm sure someone working there would get a laugh out of it.

Things to look for in the near future: completion of this quilt block (maybe even later today), pincushions, completed crochet projects, $1.50 wool (!) and other yarns snatched up on the cheap from Wal-Mart clearance

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Yesterday on Pioneer Woman Cooks, PW posted a great little photo tutorial on making your own pepitas. I love PW's cooking blog; so much fun. I'll have to get my sister's soy sauce and garlic based recipe for them, the one she used last year when she was doing all that experimenting with the seeds from her pumpkin carving party. They were absolutely delicious and oh, so much tastier than any other snack food. My mouth is watering just thinking of them.

I said last time that I would post some pics of those blankets I have been working on. I still haven't finished the one for M's wedding, but T's is all done as of last Friday night. So, without further ado, here's some pics!

This one is M's. It's really, really big. So much so, in fact, that I can't get it all in one pic with my computer's camera.

It is crocheted using a large, plastic size Q hook just like this one here (funky turqiouse plastic and all) and acrylic yarn.

I used two strands of yarn at once while I was stitching it and because I used such a large hook it has a very airy quality to it while still being nice and warm and comfy.

This one is T's. I used only one strand of yarn at a time and a size K hook. It is crocheted in what is called a Granny Square stitch so it actually did stay a square shape.

I really like the super bright colors against the plain black. It's all acrylics again being that they are the most economical yarn when you're on such a tight budget like I am.

This is a close-up of the stitches themselves. See the line on the diagonal where the groups of stitches are closer than the others? That's where the corner is as rows of stitches are added. If you want to know how to make a blanket like this yourself, a nice tutorial can be found here at Crochet Cabana.

I didn't quite follow all of the instructions there, though. At the beginning I used what some crocheters refer to as a magic circle. You can find a photo tutorial for that here at CrochetMe.
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