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Archive for April, 2009

I don’t normally make birthday cakes for myself.  It always seemed kind of silly really.  But this year, the kids are on school holidays, and well, we needed an activity.

Someone posted a link to a Omnomicon on one of the forums I’m on, about how to make a Rainbow Cake.  LOVE the look of this cake. I’m not normally into such bright colours, but this is just too cool.

So I bought some cake mix and pulled out the gel dyes.

A good blogger would have taken more pictures, but oh well.

These are how the cakes looked while cooling.  I was a bit distraught at the browning of the violet colour, but it was still workable. And no, mine are the full fat, full calorie version.

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I didn’t like the icing AT ALL that they used in the omnomicom cake.  Bleurgh.

So I got out my gels again, and coloured some ready-made icing, and spiraled it together.

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I rolled the icing out and added it to the cake.  The stuff stretched while I was putting it on the cake, so it gave it an ovalness that was not pleasing to my eye.  But c’est la vie.  Added a few hearts, and voila.

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And the best part was eating it.

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Word to the wise though: Don’t serve it to kids after dinner.  Make it an early afternoon cake instead.  The food colouring induced mania is easier to handle in the daytime. 😉

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Conversation Piece

A conversation piece is usually something that incites discussion.  It’s usually something very artful, or well, just ugly enough to make you want to dis it, breaking the silence barrier and lightening the mood of a group of people.

This is neither.

My friend Sheryl was coming to stay, and since we like to gasbag, I needed something I could knit without thinking.  No pattern, no lace, minimal counting, JUST KNITTING.

I bought some  Regia Kaffe Fassett Design Line sock wool last year because I adore stripes.  All I could find at the time were colours from the mirage range though, which are random dyed.  Took me ages to find the colour I wanted in the Landscape range.  But then the wool just sat there.  I fell in love with Vintage Purls and lace and designing my own socks, that I figured I wouldn’t even knit up that wool.  How pathetic is that!

So I decided that colourful striped socks in plain stocking stitch were just the ticket.  Simple.  Effective. Easy.

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This  is literally a conversation piece.  Simple knit socks, that I knit around and around and around, while conversing the whole time! They took me all of four days.  That’s a heap of gasbagging!

Sheryl knit a pair as well.  Her Theodora socks from the current Sock Club through Vintage Purls.  A decent friend would have taken a nice pic of the two of us together, but instead, here is a pic of our feet.

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These are currently my most favourite socks.  I have to admit, that when I was done knitting the toe, I had decided I didn’t like the feel of the yarn.  It seemed scratchy and stiff.  But i LOVE them.  Mostly because they fit like a glove.  I’ve had some problems with how many gusset stitches to use to balance the height of the instep with the lace knitting I’ve been doing, but went with the lower end of 12 gusset stitches on these socks.  Between that and measuring the length of my foot at the end of the sole instead of the back of the heel, these are a perfect fit.  They have just the right amount of negative ease to them.

So, that’s my conversation piece.  I called them Plain Jane, because they are just knit stitches, but wow, they are anything but plain.

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Cute As a Button

I have amazing friends.

Really, I do!

This is what my friend Jayce made for me.

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It was inspired from a trip to Te Papa, where they have an exhibit about fashion through-out the century.  In one of the displays was a button bag.  And Jayce’s idea was born.

The stats:

  • 4 months to make.  All the buttons are hand sewn on.  Yikes!  Not only that, each one has been sealed on the front and the back to keep any from coming loose.
  • 1.5 kg of buttons.  Now you understand why it took 4 months
  • Many swear words were apparently uttered during it’s making.

Jayce, thank you.  It’s just divine!

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Yarn Swap V.3.0

Yes, it’s that time again.  We finish one swap and the next one starts.

I signed up for two swaps again.  I wanted to go all out, but believe it or not, I held back this time.  I was trying not to make my packages so OTT, as it’s easy for me to get carried very far away!

The first one I did is based on the Kings of Leon song Sex on Fire. My person mentioned lots of things she would like, but the only thing that hit me was that she currently liked listening to Kings of Leon.  That could well be because they have also caught my fancy of late.  Sex on Fire is actually my ring-tone at the moment, so I get to hear it every so often, and then get to sing it in my head on repeat for hours after that.  Much better than the In The Night Garden theme song any day.

So I got stuck into figuring out what to add.  I was thinking the theme might be a tad mature, but then I found a sock pattern called, Socks on Fire!  Oh my freaking goodness!!!  So, that cinched it for me.

The yarn I dyed is 100g Paton’s Patonyle, originally a caramel colour.  It’s dyed with Dylon in shades of pinks and red, which are the colours that come to mind when I think of the theme.  I would have added some orange as well, but my swappee isn’t into orange, so stuck with just the shades of reds and pinks.

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For the gift, I bought a copy of the Kings of Leon’s Only by the Night album, and made little sock stitch markers on a “Fire” fob.

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The “piece of paperwork” for the swap was the drink recipe which is actually called Sex on Fire!

It was all just meant to be!

And to top it off, because I am a dork  and only dyed 100g of wool, instead of the 150g minimum, I added in a Schoc Chocolate bar in Chili Flavour.  I had a taste sample at the Schoc store, and it is sure to spice up any one’s life.

The next one has to be some of the best, yet morbid fun I’ve had in a long time.  My swapper said in her notes that she likes a good blood splatter thriller book.  In particular, she was into the Scarletta series by Patricia Cornwell.  A bit of googling, and I came up with “Death By Knitting.”

I had a crime scene. (100g patonyle dyed in deeps reds and black.)

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Blood splatter disguised as sock stitch markers on a noose.

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A manual on murder disguised as literature, Died In the Wool, by Mary Kruger, bagged and tagged as evidence.

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The motive!  Who wouldn’t kill for some Schoc Chocolate!

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Informant information on Broken Cables, along with some other pieces of information like a police report and death certificate.

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More crime scene pictures (gotta love Google), plus a recipe for Death By Chocolate.

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And all of it, packed away in a Case File.

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That was so much fun!

I received two in return.  The first one came before the deadline and got me in a panic.  But what a lovely parcel, all tied up in string.

The first was was titled *Strawberries.*  YUM!

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It was 200g of Merino et Soie, dyed with Ashfords Hot Pink and Scarlet coloured acid dyes. (My swapper even had an extra 300g that I bought off her as I LOVE this colour.)  She sent a strawberry coffee cup (yes, I love my cup of joe!), and a strawberry huller which is a kitchen gadget I didn’t have. Perfecto!  The recipe is for Pam’s Scarlet Strawberry Cordial which is a family recipe.  And the pattern picked is Strawberry Hill by Melissa Matthay.

Because I had so much extra wool, I knit this up as well, which I blogged about here.

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But wait!  There is one more!!!!

This one is based on Little House on the Prairie.  My yarn fairy wrote up this little story to go with the swap.

It is a Saturday morning in out “Little House on the Prairie” in the height of summer. Pa is out in the fields milling the timber and I have just finished gathering up the vegetables and fruit out of the garden.  I take my basket into the kitchen and there is Ma at our kitchen table wearing her apron.  I can smell the bread baking in the oven and Ma has the preserving pot all ready and waiting.  I place the basket on the table and begin helping to peel the fruit. Every summer about this time, Ma does the preserves and places them in the pantry that Pa built. You should see it.  There is orange marmalade, cucumber relish, and bottles of pickled onions.  Ma said that after we finished the preserving, we are going across the way to visit the Price family, so I had better go and fetch the cake carrier and Ma’s shawl before Pa arrives with the horse and carriage. Clip, clop, here comes the horses, have to go now.

yarn-swap-lhotp-whole-packageIt contains:

  • The wool is dyed to reflect the colours of Ma’s preserves in the pantry.
  • An apron just like Ma’s as a said it is a mothers second skin.
  • A cake carrier for when I go visiting.
  • A pattern for a knitted piggy.
  • A package of 150g bamboo for a shawl.
  • Recipe for a Banana and Date tea loaf.

Whoa Nelly would be an appropriate exclamation for this one!

The apron is currently being used for my clothes pegs.

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And a closer pic of the yarn.

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Since I decided to not use the Malabrigo for boy’s pants for winter, I might well use this.  It goes with several of his shirts and is just lovely colours for a boy.

Thank you Joanne and Pipi!  I love the swaps you’ve put together.

So, what’s the next swap on the list?  The Magic Yarn Ball Swap!!  But you’ll just have to wait and wonder a bit for that one. 😉

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