Monday, September 28, 2009

Wrapped up in chains

Baking 006

Finally found the wire I've been looking for (kind of) at Joann's. They only have three different gauges and, of course, not 21g, which I needed, but I made due with 20g copper core silver wire. It's much easier to work with than the stuff we picked up at the hardware store and it's prettier too! I made the King's Mail Bracelet from Chain Mail Jewelery. It was a lot of fun making this piece, mostly because it didn't kill my wrists and hands, turning and cutting the wire and because once you get going with it, it's really neat to see how the rings lie against one and other.

I sort of made this for Nick, although I'm not sure he'll ever wear it, and I wouldn't blame him if he doesnt. It's fun to play with, it looks neat, and I'm satisfied with the experience. I only wish I could figure out how to not make the edges of the wire so rough. I tried squeezing them with my pliers and it worked on most of the rings, but it's really hard to get them right. Maybe sanding or something?

Baking 014

Just like the picture, huh? :) I think I will try something delicate next, like the Diamond Earrings next. I have a feeling it will be trickier, but even more worthwhile!

Keeping busy, rotting my teeth out, plumping my thighs

My honey's been out of town for a week now and while it's hard to adjust, it's also given me a lot of time to work on projects! I'm 3/4 of the way through a second sock, halfway done with a pair of felted slippers and most of the way done with a scarf. I am forcing myself to finish at least two of these projects because I really want to start on a shawl to wear in the office this winter (love my new desk, but not the air vent directly above it!). All that knitting is fine and good, but I've also been itching to do some baking. So, last weekend, I found a package of phyllo dough in the freezer from when I decided to make spanakopita (SO yummy!), and I tried my hand at baklava.

Baking 003

Baklava has a bad reputation for being really difficult to make. I feel like I must have copped out or something because the recipe that I used really wasn't that hard to follow and the results were much better than expected! Aside from the nuts, which are always pricey, it wasn't even that expensive. For these reasons, I believe baklava can now be added to my Christmas cookie repertoire!

Baking 002
Mmmmm... look at all that flaky goodness...

For end of quarter, I promised one of my co-workers some of Bakerella's cupcake bites, so this weekend, I spend a considerable amount of time assembling them. Last time I made them, for a work bake sale, it took over three hours to make the cute little devils. This time, I decided to be less meticulous about it because in the end, they're devoured in two bites, and it really doesn't matter whether or not that cute little chocolate shell looks like a cupcake wrapper or not. It still took over an hour. Hurmph. No, they're not as cute, but they're still sugary and good.

Baking 025
Side note: I would not recommend the confetti Wilton candy melts... I thought they would save time with decorating, but once melted, it really resembles ranch dressing. Not something I want to put on my cupcakes!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day dreamy

© estesnet Look at those sweet faces!

We went to a big old, gun-slinging, dog-racing, junk-selling, deal-making swap meet/flea market over the long weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, made a few purchases (an old wooden rolling pin that won't stick to my sugar cookie dough), a couple of vintage knitting magazines and a skein of the softest yarn in existence. It's 100% Ohio grown and processed alpaca yarn from a critter named Pistolero. Nick got to get up close and personal with some of the animals and we chatted for a bit with their owners.

I've been joking for a while now about my plans for getting an alpaca of my own when we have our big house in the country. Nick has kindly humored me and basically given me the "Yes, dear" answer. He's not much of a country boy, and although I have 8 years of 4-H under my belt, I still have limited hands-on experience with livestock. I'm happy to say that after our meeting with the owners of Swisher Creek Farm, my dream might be one step closer to reality. Nick fell in love with the sweet pair alpaca that were visiting the swap meet. We learned that they like cold weather, are relatively low maintenance and don't take up too much space. Since then, we've been daydreaming together, looking at the cost of land, animal behavior and other details of alpaca ownership.

I don't know if it will ever happen, but I would love it if it does. I want alpaca and bee hives and a library job. My dream life. It's good to have dreams.