Friday, February 27, 2009

Rocket Man

Here's a gift I made recently for a new, little man at church. The pattern for the rocket and alien ships are from Jenny Hart's Sublime Stitching and the booties are Heather Bailey's Bitty Booties. All in all a very simple, fun and fast gift to make.

One trick I used for the first time was to iron a piece of plastic coated freezer paper (plastic side down) to the underside of the onesie where I would be embroidering. The paper provided the perfect stablizer for the delicate tee and kept it from stretching while I worked. Once my needlework was finished, I tore away the paper (gently!) and voila - done.

Ah, the wonders of freezer paper. If you're new to the freezer-paper-as-crafting-tool game, here are a few links to open up your world even more:

The Crafty Crow

Have fun!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Afghan Squared...and delayed

So, remember when I mentioned being holed up for a few frigid months in northwest Colorado? We moved there right after this back in January 2007.

As you might imagine, I was very motivated at the time to start a warm, preferably woolly, project, both by the cold and the boredom/mania that comes from being snowed in with 2 small children. I chose this.

Not so much anymore having returned to the Deep South where we run our air conditioners in January and I can throw the kids into the backyard as needed. Still, I hold out hopes of finishing this afghan eventually. I figured that posting about it would provide some incentive. We'll see.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dressing for Paris...ha

Last spring, my husband surprised me with plans for a trip to Paris for our 12th anniversary in the summer. My emotions went from shock to glee to dread as I thought of my boring mommy wardrobe and lack of Paris-worthy attire. I mean, I try, but this is Paris, no?

So after lots of fruitless online shopping and staring blankly into my closet for hours, I hit a fun local shop with Larissa and found these, which I promptly embellished in an effort to make them more individual and cool. I don't have any before pictures, so I'll just tell you, the mustard shrug was plain and the green jacket had some pretty hideous brass and pearl buttons.

I used Amy Butler's Lotus
Lacework in Grey for the appliques, attaching them with Heat 'n' Bond, then embellishing with tiny, ivory French knots.

For the jacket, I just changed out the buttons for some that I covered myself from my scrap bin.
Okay, so I'll admit that I didn't have the courage to wear either of these pieces in Paris. No, I didn't find that all stylish Parisians wore only black, but these just didn't seem right, either. (Plus, I find that I'm not much of a teensy, fitted shrug girl - maybe 15 years and 20 pounds ago?) Still, I had fun playing with them.
And, in the end, who really cared what I looked like in the presence of this beauty? Certainly not me. (Now, if I could only remember this fact as I plan for/stress over my upcoming girl trip to NYC...)

Friday, February 20, 2009


My son Gage has a talent for giving his "friends" interesting names. Meet Botchalato. "Botch" for short. (I try not to take that too personally.)

I am a huge fan of Hillary Lang's work. Her toys and dolls are what inspired me to start dollmaking a couple of years ago. So when she released the Spaceboy & Robot pattern a while back, I immediately fell in love and bought it. And when my recently robot-obsessed son's birthday rolled around this year, I had the perfect project ready to go. Which, to my mind, proves that impulse buys are totally justified.

Gage wasn't completely jazzed about the robot until I explained the function of each of the buttons and snaps. Like, as in, "This one raises his left arm, this one his right...and don't ever push this one unless you're prepared for serious Super Blast Off mode." Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sometimes sick pays off...

It's been a while since I picked up a crochet hook. I like to crochet, but I'm really more of an instant gratification girl, so sewing is usually my craft-of-choice. This weekend, though, seeing as how I was feverish and pitiful with a cold, I had the perfect excuse to sit on the couch with my hook and yarn and craft up a little something.

Here's what I came up with, using this pattern as my starting point, but making a few changes along the way. (The biggest change - adding a few rows to make it wider and adjusting the ruffle as a result - probably not necessary if I'd made a swatch and adjusted my gauge in the first place, but, like I said, instant gratification. Prep work doesn't happen when you're crafting on the fly.)I think I'll use these buttons just above the ruffle with snaps inside for the actual closure. (The original pattern provided for button holes between the "petals" of the ruffle, but I'm not crazy about how that looks on mine.) I love these buttons. I dug them out of a bin at a little antique store in Meeker, Colorado when we were holed up there for a few snowy months. I've been hoarding them away for the perfect project.

This is not the perfect project. But, hey, since they're just decorative, I can easily snip them off later and not ruin the function of the scarf. So there you go. I'll get back here soon with pics of the finished product.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rice Pudding

The March issue of Bon Appetit showed up in my mailbox this week . Yay! This is the one magazine these days that I sit and read from cover to cover. One of my favorite bits is the Cooking Life article by Molly Wizenberg, my favorite food writer and author of the award-winning blog Orangette. In the March article, Sweet Memories, Molly writes about her dad's love affair with rice pudding and her own rice pudding coming-of-age, including a simple, definitive recipe.

So, ironically, I discovered this gem of an article when I sat down to dinner with my treasured magazine last night. On the menu? Rice pudding. The kids and I are nursing colds and the husband was out of town, so dinner had to be something simple and comforting that could be made quickly with on-hand ingredients.

Armed with some leftover basmati and the dregs of a carton of whipping cream, I decided to try my hand at making rice pudding for the first time. (Like Molly, I was slow to come to an appreciation of this simple comfort food. Even as an adult, I haven't eaten it often. So, I'm no expert, but I had an idea of what I wanted it to be like. If only I had squeezed in some time to read my Bon Appetit earlier!) After unsuccessfully Googling for recipes, here's what I came up with on my own:
Stir together the following ingredients in a medium-sized, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil:

2 to 2 1/2 cups leftover basmati rice
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 2/3 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 heavy pinch kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup raisins

Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low-medium. In the meantime, beat 1 egg until slightly thickened and lemony in color; set aside. Stir the rice mixture off and on for about 20 minutes, until it takes on more of a loose, creamy, pudding-like consistency. (At this point, I stirred in 2 tablespoons of butter. Probably not completely necessary.)

When that's done, stir about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the hot rice pudding into the beaten egg. Then, slowly add the warmed egg mixture to the rice, stirring vigorously and constantly to prevent the egg from curdling in your pudding. That would be bad.

Continue to gently stir your pudding for about 5 minutes, giving the egg time to cook and finish the thickening process. Note: the egg bit could totally be skipped, if you wanted a little looser consistency.

And then you're done. Slap that creamy goodness into a bowl and indulge. I liked it warm. The kids approved. We'll see this morning how it holds up cold.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hi, my name is Robyn and I don't blog.

At least that's what I've been telling myself and a certain insistent friend for a while now.

I do, however, craft. I inherited a compulsive need to make, which you'd know if you saw my stash of afghans, doilies, embroidery and quilts passed down from my grandmothers and their mothers before them. (These inspirational crafters, my grandmothers, were named Viola Mae and Pearl White.) And I can't leave out my own mother, who kept me in handmade clothes as a kid. She continues to inspire me with her DIY attitude and artistic ability.

So, this crafty blog is named after my grandmothers, but it isn't exactly a tribute to them, although they're as deserving as any dedicated crafters could be. No, it's more a tribute to the past and those things that, at least in my mind, define what was best about it: a focus on family, a handmade home, cooking from scratch, prudent, DIY sensibilities and a simple, sincere faith in God.

It's quite possible that my mother and the aforementioned friend are the only two people who will ever read this blog. So here you go, ladies.
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