Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Recap

Recap:

Read:
1. The Mistletoe Kiss by Janet Lee Barton
2. Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara
3. Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger
4. So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins
5. Musui's Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai by Teruka Craig
6. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell
7. Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon by David Barnett

Cross Stitch Finishes:
1. B is for Bunny by The Sweetheart Tree

Crafts:
1. Pokemon ball amigurumis
2. Clara Jellyfish amigurumi
3. Dango amigurumi
4. Kero-chan amigurumi
5. Beast kpop decoden box
6. Octopus amigurumi
7. Pikachu amigurumi

My favorite book of the month was Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell. I had picked up the novel on one of my trips to The Book Nook a while ago. I think the last novel I read of Gaskell's was Cranford. Mary Barton was her first novel, which launched her career after it became known that she was the author. It was also quite controversial because of its subject matter, the average mill worker and their relations with the mill owners in Industrial Age England.

I think perhaps her novel North and South is read more widely nowadays especially since the beautiful BBC series adaptation starring Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage came out in 2004.

I do think Mary Barton would make an excellent adaptation to the screen as well. At first you think the plot focuses on the social aspect of mill work and poverty faced by the lower classes, but then Mrs. Gaskell adds a bit of romance, murder, and mystery into the mix. Makes for a great novel in the end. I would love to see either Brian Percival or Andrew Davies adapt the novel as a mini series. I think they would do the novel justice.

My favorite craft for the month was the Pikachu amigurumi. Not that the pattern was challenging (except perhaps his tail!), just that it makes for such an adorable amigurumi with his expression.

Next month's goals will be to continue crocheting amigurumi plushies, finish the Blackberry Jam cross stitch pattern by The Sweetheart Tree, and stitch some more on my Sampler 4 Saisons pattern for the Frolicking Friday group.

Until next time >___<


January Amigurumi Roundup


Here is my little amigurumi collection this month and late last month. I think my favorite is the Pikachu ami, he's so cute with his red cheeks.

Until next time >___<

Sunday Baking - Basic Chocolate Cake



This morning I attempted another recipe from Bake From Scratch magazine, the basic 1-2-3-4 cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Not bad for a first try at a classic cake recipe.

I didn't think our little handmixer was going to make it when it came to making the buttercream frosting! It was struggling with an entire bag of confectioner's sugar, butter, and cacao powder. Lol

If I use this recipe again, I will half the ingredients to make a one layer cake. And perhaps try a different flavored frosting. Vanilla cake yields endless possibilities for frostings.

Until next time >___<

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sampler 4 Saisons Progress :)


Good evening! Here is my progress on my sampler so far. The annoying part is the fact that I realized I was off a stitch on the bottom two lines under the alphabet. There's no way I can unstitch the lines as they have been in place for quite a long time and have surely stained the fabric underneath. Ugh......lol.....don't you just hate it when that happens.

But c'est la vie. And as my fellow stitching friends always remind me, no one knows the mistakes but the stitcher. So very true.

I will put aside my sampler until next Friday as I plan on baking tomorrow morning and then finishing up my last amigurumi for the month of January.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend with their various projects :)

Until next time >___<

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blackberry Jam start ~ The Sweetheart Tree

I switched gears this afternoon by starting a new cross stitch pattern after working on an amigurumi this morning.

Pattern: Blackberry Jam by The Sweetheart Tree
Fabric: 28 ct natural and cream linen by Graziano
Threads: recommended DMC colors and #12 perle coton
Start: 1/24/2016

I love the colors used in the pattern, especially the DMC 902, which really does remind me of jam.

I hope everyone is enjoying the rest of their weekend and that it isn't too cold in your neck of the woods!

Until next time >___<

Cherry Blossom Season

Good afternoon! It's that time of year again, cherry blossom season. Our Taiwanese cherry tree is blooming. The first two photos were taken on a rainy day while the last two were taken yesterday on a sunny day.

Flowering trees always make me smile.





Sunday, January 17, 2016

B is for Bunny - First Finish of 2016 ♡


Pattern: B is for Bunny by The Sweetheart Tree
Fabric: 28ct Summer Khaki Cashel linen
Threads: DMC, Rainbow Gallery Wisper, #12 Perle Coton, and Crescent Colours Cocoa Bean
Start/Finish: 1/3-17/2016

Good evening! I was able to finish my little bunny pattern a few moments ago.

This afternoon I was mulling over my DMC threads trying to find an alternative color to the recommended DMC 642 for the backstitching and Rhodes heart variations. I stitched a bit on the large 'B' letter and took my stitching over to my aunt's to ask her opinion on my choice. I had used some of my Crescent Colours Cocoa Bean thread. My aunt liked the choice so I continued to use it for the rest of the design.

The pattern called for DMC 644 for the outer borders, but as that color blended too well with fabric like the DMC 642, I opted to use ecru in those areas instead.

Overall, I loved stitching this pattern as it give me a few stitches to learn. The scotch stitch had me scratching my head at first because I was reading the pattern as 2 over 2 so when I saw the illustration of the stitch over more than 2, I didn't know how I was supposed to make the stitch.  Turns out my eyes were misreading the stitch symbol on the chart as it the illustrated by diagonal lines. When I looked closer I realized the diagonal lines weren't in just one square, but two. Problem solved…lol...

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.....crafting, relaxing, or reading....perhaps a bit of all three :)

Until next time >___<


Sunday Baking - Flourless Chocolate Cardamom Cake



Good evening everyone! This morning I decided to try a recipe I found in the latest issue of Bake From Scratch magazine for a flourless chocolate cardamom cake. I only made one change in the ingredients. It called for 70% cacao baking bars, but I could only find 60% cacao baking bars made by Ghirardelli. I used 100% unsweetened cacao powder by Ghirardelli to dust the top of the cake.

Now I know you are probably thinking that this cake cannot be sweet because of all the dark chocolate, but the recipe does call for 1-1/2 cups of sugar so worry not, it will satisfy your sweet tooth.

I love the use of cardamom in the cake. I cannot really describe the taste of cardamom. It smells like citrus, but does not taste of citrus. Apparently you can use it in savory dishes as well as sweet ones.

My family liked the cake, but everyone had a different opinion of what it reminded them of. I got fudge brownies, lava cake, and pudding as descriptions. All of which do describe the consistency of this cake. It is a dense, moist, and fudgy cake. My mother and aunt agreed that is the type of cake that you have a cup of coffee with :)

The recipe makes a 9 inch round cake.....I think I might take half of it to my aunt's house tomorrow which will leave half the temptation at our house. Lol

Until next time >___<

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Stitching Progress

Hi, everyone! Here is my progress on the Sampler 4 Saisons pattern from last Friday and this Friday. Not a great amount of stitching, but as I promised to only work on it on Friday nights that is to be expected :)


We get a three day weekend so I plan on stitching some more on my Sweetheart Tree bunny design, find some yarn to finish my octopus amigurumi, and perhaps bake on Sunday. I found a recipe for a flourless chocolate cardamom cake that I would like to try.

Tomorrow morning I plan on stopping by my favorite used bookstore, The Book Nook, and then go by the craft stores in town. I had enough pink yarn to finish the head and tentacles on my octopus amigurumi, but did not have a darker pink for its ruffle or spots so I plan stopping by Michael's to see what they have :)

Happy crafting everyone! Until next time >___<

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Baking - Biscoff Fudge

Good evening everyone! I saw a video on Youtube for Biscoff fudge and knew I had to try it since I love Biscoff cookies.


The recipe was quite easy to make and was actually fail proof. I didn't cut the pieces very large. I left them small so they fit in mini cupcake liners.

For my first time making fudge, I think I did a good job. Next time I'll know to push down the fudge in the tin completely and not rely on just smoothing the fudge out with a spatula.

I had bought some adorable mini Valentine cookie cutters with the intention of using them to cut the fudge, but despite leaving the fudge in the fridge for an hour and a half, it was too 'soft' to cut with the cookie cutters without the fudge breaking :(

I took a good majority of the fudge to work so I wouldn't be tempted to eat it all.....which I know would happen if I left the fudge at home.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has left a comment on my posts. I appreciate them :) I am hoping to devote a day each week to reading everyone's blogs and commenting instead of just being a 'silent' reader. I just have to pick a day.

Until next time >___<