Epic Pokemon Cross-stitch Update 18/10/16

The Epic Pokemon cross-stitch is coming along nicely, albeit slower now I’ve started knitting a blanket. On the blanket front, I’m up to 17cm out of 150. Which is pretty awesome for six days work.

I did have a bit of a set back on day two when I moved from the blanket border to the pattern, and had to spend part of day three ripping out the six rows. The pattern I’m doing is a set of seven stitches, a combinations in knits, decrease stitches and yarnovers. I have not done yarnovers before, but they are a way of making a stitch, by putting the yarn…over the needle. Super original hey! It was going fine, until I realised that on row three I had forgotten a yarnover, reducing the stitches from seven to six. Uh oh! There was no way to fix it but to rip back to the border and start again.

Now, I have a stitch marker between each set of seven stitches and count them tirelessly to make sure I always have seven. It’s working! I’m almost finished the first ball of yarn and have six more being delivered this week.

But back to cross-stitch! I finished off another page and a bit and here’s the results.img_0581

I love the curls Jiggly and Wiggly have, they are just adorable! Zubat annoys me, as my home town is rife with these in Pokemon Go and they can be annoying to catch. There there *pat self* don’t take it out of the cross-stitch.

Nine and a bit pattern pages left. That’s so exciting!

Until next time, have fun!

Baby Blankie Number 1

Yesterday I started working on one of the baby blankets planned to be done over the next few months. I’m probably delusional at how long they will take but I do love a challenge and worse case scenario, it will be the midde of summer when all these babies arrive and no ones gong to need a blanket anyway.  I probably won’t share too much of this until it’s finished so that it’s at least a partial surprise for the mummy and daddy 🙂 What you can see so far is the garter stitch border and I’m about to start the pattern.

I am absolutely in LOVE with this yarn. It’s Stellar from Bendigo Woollen Mills, in the colour Tourmaline. It’s this gorgeous heathery blend of white and dusky pink and it’s so squishy and soft and a dream to knit with and has absolutely no scratchy factor to it at all.

Stellar is a 50% wool and 50% bamboo blend. The bamboo adds this incredible silky softness to the yarn, while the wool makes it durable, and this version is machine washable as well which is a definite bonus for a baby blankie. It has breathability but has yummy warmth for when cooler weather comes along in 6- 8 months.

I picked up the 12 ply yarn which means this blanket is knitting up quite fast on 5.5mm needles. I’m using my longest circular cord which gives a total length of 60 inches with needles.

Unfortunately it’s ending up wider than I had estimated, especially considering that I knit a test swatch and calculated the stitches required to get the width of 120cm. Somehow, it’s 140cm wide….I’ve redone my math and it seems to be sound, so I think maybe I mis-measured my swatch. Rather than undoing a few hours of work, I decided to carry on in hopes they might get extra years out of it with it being bigger 🙂

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I cast on 179 stitches because I wanted to make it larger than the original pattern (which I won’t share until it’s finished :P) and chose the Chained Cast On, which lo and behold, has a chain of stitches running along the edge. I did have to pull out my crochet hook to do this cast on but I fuddled through and I certainly achieve a more even and looser cast on than with a more traditional cast on, due to my tendency to pull it too tight.

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It also matches the chaining I am doing along the sides of the blankets. This is achieved by slipping the first stitch of each row from the left needle onto the right needle (don’t knit it) and by purling the last stitch in each row. Tiny thing but it looks great!

The pattern I chose looks great but isn’t so complex that I have to concentrate completely. Yay for knitting and tv! I’ve recently zipped through The Last Ship during the last few weeks while working on the Pokemon cross stitch, update coming soon as I am nearly finished another pattern page, and oh my god, I love that show! There’s something about viruses and the end of the world that I love; add Navy guys and shooting and blowing stuff up and I’m in heaven! But now that I’ve finished that until Season 4 starts, I have moved onto House of Lies, a completely inappropriate comedy drama about management consulting. If I say I finished Season 1 in one day….you’ll figure out I’m enjoying this too.

So, until next time, have fun!

Ladybug Baby BBQ

My dear friends, Angela and Jay, are having their first bubba in a few months, and to celebrate they had a BBQ get-together with friends and family this past weekend. It was a gorgeous spring day with lots of fun and good food!

Angela asked me to make some cookies for the event, which of course I would have to do! They’ve nicknamed the bub Bug, so there was a ladybug theme, though thankfully not over the top as some baby shower parties can get. Good job on a relaxed and fun party!

I thought I would show a few of my supplies and the process for this set of cookies, as it was pretty full on. The order was for fifty cookies, and due to friend status, I made them big!

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Day 1 – I pulled out my DoughEZ rolling mat, trusty rolling pin, and my Baker’s Secret baking trays.

If I just have one batch of cookies, I usually don’t bother pulling out the mat but I had four batches to roll, hand-cut and bake. This mat and its guide rules, just make it so quick and easy to roll to the same thickness and to peel them off. Unfortunately it’s only available from the US via this website but they do ship to Australia. Still, if you make a lot of cookies, pastry, or roll sugarpaste, this mat is definitely worth the cost and I think it’s going to last a lifetime.

The rolling pin I purchased from my TAFE teacher when I did my cake decorating course years ago, so sorry…no idea where it’s from or what it’s called but it is the best rolling pin I have ever had.

The Baker’s Secret pans I have had for a few years now and they are still in great shape. They are non-stick, and just the right colour to not overcook the cookies.  They don’t mind metal spatulas being used to lift the cookies after baking. They are reasonably priced as well, about $12-$15 each. I think I’m going to pick up another three to bring my total to six as it was a bit of a handful baking fifty cookies with only three trays.

Unfortunately, my rented house’s oven is utterly terrible. I have to use a oven thermometer every time to achieve the right temperature (not that that is a bad habit) but I have to put the gauge onto 175-180 to achieve 160 degrees C, because the thermostat keeps breaking regardless of how many times it has been readjusted. I’ve learned its quirks but I only feel comfortable baking one tray at a time.

So, four and a half hours of mixing dough, rolling, cutting, baking, and we have 54 cookies ready (always make a few extras in case you mess some up). Another hour to mix up the 1 and a half batches of royal icing and colour it.

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Day 2 – Here is everything laid out and ready to go. I make my piping bags from baking paper myself, it’s cheaper than buying plastic piping bags and your icing stays cooler in them as well, especially if you have hot little hands. I pulled out my really good piping tips. I swear by PME!

I managed to get the bases piped in two and a half hours, colour achieved by Americolor Avocado, the darker “outline” lines with just a bit of black icing added to the avocado icing. I left them to dry, and later that night piped the green swirls and dots.

Day 3 – Ladybug time! These took about an hour all up to pipe. I did the bodies and heads, then went back and piped the tiny antennae. The white dots were piped onto the red using the wet on wet technique, just like the green outlines the day before.

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The cookies were left to dry for another 24 hours. Look at these little cuties!

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Day 4 –  Packaging took around ninety minutes. Here they are ready to party!

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I’d like to acknowledge Jill’s Funky Cookie Studio, whose design we appropriated for this cookie. She is just fabulous, so you won’t be disappointed if you go to check out her Facebook.

Hope you enjoyed this little journey. Until next time, have fun!

Epic Pokemon Cross-stitch Update 04/09/16

Crafting has been a little tough to come by lately for me. I pinched a nerve in my shoulder, so while that eased up, I couldn’t hold my knitting needles or cross-stitch for more than 10 minutes. I couldn’t even imagine rolling out cookie dough.

Then the flu hit a week ago and has wiped out the hubby and I. Feeling pretty poorly but have done a little cross stitching last night during a brief respite and some more today. I do miss keeping my hands busy with something. It’s a terrible line I’ve found between having no energy and feeling useless for doing nothing. I’ll try not to beat myself up about it too much 🙂

A few more Pokemon have managed to be found since my last update on the Epic cross-stitch. Diglett, and his evolution Dugtrio, and their catty friend Meowth, who is just the cutest!

Diglett leads to a fun little story about one of Jason and my early Pokemon Go walks. We planned to be out for maybe an hour maximum, and ended up chasing Diglett around for over two hours. I nicknamed him Diggles, (I was watching Arrow at the time which has a character called John Diggle) which caused me much amusement as Jason just hated me doing it.

“His name’s DIGLETT!”

He gave in eventually, and Diglett shall forever be known now as Diggles.

Unfortunately, we didn’t know at the time that Pokemon Go didn’t clear out the de-spawned Pokemon (now since fixed) and it was just after the three footprints glitch happened, so we were basically chasing a ghost. We got a lot of steps that afternoon!

Anyways, enjoy this little update, and I hope that I’ll be feeling better real soon and back to crafting more.

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Until next time, have fun!

Dachshund Cookies

Spelling dachshund is pretty hard, don’t you think? I can see why they get called sausage dogs, it’s just easier.

This lil guy was the inspiration for these cookies that I FINALLY made for my sister Lisa. I always say better late than never. This is Mustard, my sister’s cutie of a dachshund.

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I have been out of practice with making cookies, so I tried to keep it simple, and sometimes that works out to be super cute. I can imagine Mustard doing a lot of napping and begging like these guys below, though a soccer ball is probably bigger than him!

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Hopefully you can see in this closeup I used a pink luster dust on the cheeks. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have used a sparkly one 🙂 Poor puppies, all prettied up and nowhere to go.

I painted on their eyebrows with a little black powdered food colouring.

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I wanted to show you two types of balls I did. The lower soccer ball is a more traditional pattern, but I think it just looks crap, really crowded and lacking definition. So I simplified a bit more and I think they look great now.

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Definitely not my best cookies by far, but made with love! There’s some air bubbles in the royal icing, which caused a hole in the foreleg of the above dog cookie and dimpling in almost all of them. I couldn’t find my best piping tips, so everything just looks a little sloppy to me. I guess I need to do a sort of my cookie supplies! But even if my skills are lacking, it was fun to get back to this. Now I need to decide what to make with the leftover cookie dough and icing 🙂

Until next time, have fun.