Monday, March 28, 2011


It's been a long week, Pocketeers.  But I got to cap it off with the Homespun Yarn Party at Savage Mill.  I caught up with some dear friends and had a lot of fun.  And I even got to treat myself on a small budget :)  I'll let the pics do the talking...

To be honest, I bought the "Downy Oshun, Hon" almost as much for the name as for the colors.  I almost bought a skein of "Bromo Seltzer Tower" too but managed to control myself.  What doesn't appear here is the skein of "Poppies in the Field" that I got for my mom from Space Cadet Creations.  But I'm sure she'll be posting pictures of what she makes with it pretty soon, because I happen to know she's excited to work with it :)

Also, I actually have some of my own handspun to show.  Finally.  Remember a couple weeks ago when I posted a pic of me spinning?  Here's what I was working on:

Merino in "Primrose."  I don't know who actually produces this, because it's one of a few blended rovings that a lot of vendors sell at MDSW.  If anybody knows where this ultimately comes from, please let me know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Out of the Blue

Last weekend I moved my sewing machine and all my fabric to the new place.  I haven't sewn anything in ages, at least not beyond shortening pants.  And I needed something to wear with a dress I got for a friend's wedding.  So it was time to revisit an old design that I've been wanting to do again.  I had significant leftovers of blue silk noil from this SCA garb:

So I cut it into two long rectangles and started workin' my stitchy magic.
Stitchy stitchy...

And after a few hems and a couple of seams, I had a jacket :)  I even got to work on it at a craft night at a new friend's house.  Unfortunately, I don't have any finished object pics yet, because, well, it's not quite finished.  But this gives you an idea (from the back, before the side seams):
It's very... solid colored.  So it needs some embellishment, and I think I'm going to do some sashiko embroidery if I can find a border pattern I like.  And if I can decide on a thread color.  You know.  Little things like that.

Ironically, I ended up not wearing it to the wedding with the intended dress.  Turns out that I don't like the way the shape of it works with the dress.  Oh well.  I managed to find a perfect green pashmina really cheap at the mall, and it gives me more time to embellish the jacket ;)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

To celebrate Pi Day, and to celebrate the two March birthdays in my office, my coworkers and I all made pies for lunch.  Mine was cherry.

Ok, so it was the easy way out, all I had to do was use Pillsbury pie crusts and a couple cans of cherry pie filling, but I'd been wanting cherry pie, so I finally had some.  I also had...

Mixed berry pie, banana cream pie, quiche, and pineapple/blueberry pudding pie.  There weren't as many different dishes as there once were at our office food days, but hey, there are only 5 people left in my department.  It was still quite delicious.  And there was a lot left over...

So this is a pretty short post, with not a lot to show.  But there will be more later this week, because I've started a sewing project.  Yay!  It's just a couple of lengths of fabric at the moment, but it'll be something much better in a couple of days.  Once I get my hands on an iron.  And the right color thread.  Hey, at least I've got my sewing machine.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Adventures in Cupcakery

Settle in, this one is long.  Today I spent all afternoon baking and icing cupcakes in preparation for our upcoming nuptuals.  See, two of my aunts are baking Mr. Pocket's and my wedding cake, and have been asking me what kind of cake we want.  My friend Joyce had posted a link last week to this blog:  When she posted the link, I thought it looked so delicious and so festive that perhaps we could use that as our wedding cake recipe.  Since my aunts live across the country, I figured I'd test drive the recipe myself.  Mr. Pocket was very much in favor of this idea - he's generally in favor of any idea that comes with cupcakes.  We decided that since we had no idea what champagne icing would taste like, I would make a half batch of the champagne icing, and a half batch of plain buttercream.  That way, not all the cupcakes would be ruined if the champagne icing was awful.  So with a plan, a trip to the grocery store, and my new electric hand mixer, I was off...

And making a colossal mess.  Lowest setting on the hand mixer is "spray whatever you're mixing all over the place."  And I'm already incapable of baking anything without making a huge mess.  So I needed a solution.

Baking parchment to the rescue!

So now I was free to move about the mixing bowl without spraying the counter with butter and sugar.  Fantastic.  Rolling right along, I love baking, everything's great, I even found a way to keep my eggs from rolling all over the counter while I added them one-at-a-time:


No more problems, the batter comes together beautifully (and quite tastily, as of course I had to taste-test as I went along) and I'm filling the cupcake cups...


And... oops.  Dropped the spoon.  And it bounced off my shoe on the way to the floor.  Don't worry, I got a clean one to continue filling cupcake cups.

"Cleanup, aisle me."

So I got the cupcakes in the oven and they're baking happily away and I even managed to cope with my stunning lack of cooling racks (2 small ones is not enough for 31 cupcakes, in case you've ever wondered).  Cupcake mixing bowls and utensils are all clean so now it's time to rock out with the icing, right?  So on to the cheap champagne...

This stuff had a screw cap.  Oh well.  I got it free, regifted from one of Mr. Pocket's coworkers.  What could I expect?

So you're supposed to boil the champagne to reduce it to a super thick, super concentrated, syrupy sort of stuff.  Mmm.  Kind of disgusting by itself, actually.  But I got the bubbly bubbling away on the stove...

Bubble, bubble, toil and... nevermind.

And while that's going and then cooling, I proceed to follow the blogger's directions for the basic buttercream icing that it's to be added to.  Butter, powdered sugar, whisk attatchment, ok, here we go...

Oh, dear.  What ensued was what I have dubbed "The Great Buttercreamsplosiontastrophe of 2011."  An event that shall live in infamy.

Say it with me, folks:  Fail-boat!

So, I did what any self-respecting inexperienced baker with a problem she can't quite solve would do:  I called my mother.  Apparently, using a whisk for anything involving butter is a less-than-awesome idea.  Instead of starting over entirely and wasting 2 sticks of butter and 2.5 cups of powdered sugar (at least, more of them than was all over the counter, cabinets, stovetop, wall, toaster, sugar boxes... you get the idea), I switched to the beater attachments and tried to salvage it, per Mom's advice.  My mother is a genius, because it worked.  The butter and sugar creamed together, and I was able to add the champagne-syrup-stuff.

Isn't it a pretty color?

Well, the finished icing was more butter and champagne than anything else (even after I added more sugar), but it successfully covered the cupcakes:


The half-batch of normal buttercream icing, following the instructions on the box of sugar, was a far less eventful experience.  I may have added a little too much milk, which may have been due to just wanting to be finished and therefore just eyeballing the quantity of milk, but it tastes good and wasn't too runny even if I did add perhaps a splash more milk than I should have.


Behold the cupcake. 

The final verdict is that the strawberry cupcake recipe is a keeper, but the jury is hung up on the icing.  It's good, but also kinda weird.  I might have to try it with a slightly less cheap champagne and see if it's better.  I actually am really tempted to try it with a still wine instead, specifically Riesling, because that's my favorite and I think it goes nicely with strawberries :)  For now, though, Mr. Pocket and I are enjoying these little cuppiecakes just the way they are.

Well, maybe I could add a strawberry on top...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pics or it didn't happen!

I almost hate to make my next post so soon, because I don't want to draw focus away from Mr. Pocket, but the post is still there, below this one, so please do scroll down if  you haven't seen his awesome work yet.  I just had to show you this -- proof that I am finally makin' stuff again.

You see, Mr. Pocket and I are enjoying a quiet night in.  Dinner, WWE, wool, and my sweetie.  Ahh.

(Pesto pasta w/ shrimp, and some fresh tomato)
Look!  See!  I promised I would do more crafting, and I am!
(Also, I love our new couch.  It's the perfect height for my spinning wheel.)

It was Mr. Pocket's idea to post pictures of these things, because as he and his friends often declare, "pics or it didn't happen!"  Maybe I'll use them to start an entry for Michelle's new Crusade.  We'll see.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Return of Mr. Pocket

Greetings and happy (almost) Spring, Pocketeers!  I regret to inform you that I have no new work of my own to post.  Mr. Pocket and I have been rather occupied with moving into our own place and trying to settle into a routine.  I've been doing some knitting, but it's not really in a fit state to be photographed (a shawl on straight needles was not my brightest idea), but all my paper crafting stuff (i.e. the stuff that will make a mess) is staying home with Zingala so I don't spill stuff on the nice white carpets in our nice rented condo.  But fear not!  Mr. Pocket has been chaining to his heart's content, and my jewelry addiction's satisfaction ;)  Here's what he's been doing...

This was my Christmas present.  It's a matching necklace and bracelet set, in stainless steel and jeweler's brass.  I wear them all the time.

So.  Shiny.  <3

Don't you love these groovy purple earrings?  Sorry the pic is blurry.  They're swingin'.

This was my Valentine's Day present.  (Yeah, ya know how I love V Day?  I was sick this year.  So, no cool V Day stuff of my own to show off.)

It's 3 half-persian chains braided together.  Cool, no?

And now...

Drumroll please...

Ta-Daaaa!  The Coif is finished.  It's about 5 and a half pounds of stainless steel, and he finished it in about 10 days.  It's real armor.  He plans on wearing it if there's ever a zombie apocalypse.  Meanwhile, isn't he handsome in his shiny hat?

Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of Mr. Pocket.  Here's a preview:

Mr. Pocket has also issued a challenge to yours truly.  He says I need to blog at least once a week.  I say he's probably right.  So, no matter what I have to show or not show, I'll post something at least one day every week.  It might be knitting.  It might be paintings (got a few in mind to decorate this place).  It might be cookies.  Maybe I'll do more spinning and reinstitute Handspun Monday.  Who knows.  But watch this space.  If nothing else, there will be more chainmaille.