Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chocolate-Dipped Blueberry Cookies

  I had some dried blueberries sitting in my cupboard yesterday and when I opened it looking for something else, I had a flash of inspiration. Blueberries in cookies! I've tried putting fruit in cookies before, but it doesn't usually work well because it adds too much moisture. Dried fruit though, might be the key. So I pulled out a basic cookie recipe and tried it:

  They were really good! These cookies were a little sweeter than I was hoping for though, so I took it to the next level... I dipped them in chocolate. =)

  And now I'm happy. Care to see how I made these? Here you go...

  Start off with some butter:

  Then add brown sugar:

  White sugar, baking soda, and baking powder:

  Vanilla extract:

  And a couple eggs:

  Beat it all together:

  Then add flour:

   Mix the flour in too:

  But don't mix it too much:

  And finally, mix in a good amount of dried blueberries:

  While your oven is heating, scoop by tablespoons onto a baking sheet:
This is the version I tried with chopped dried strawberries and white chocolate chips, which were good, but also improved by dipping in semi-sweet chocolate.

  Then flatten slightly:
Again, strawberry white-chocolate version.

  And bake...they are better if they are slightly under-baked, and when they come out, they will be a little puffy:

  But after they have cooled a little they will sink and be chewy and soft in all the right places.

  You can serve them up just like this:

  Or you can melt some chocolate with a tiny bit of coconut oil or shortening:

  And dip the cookies in it.

  I dipped just the side of some of my cookies, and just the top of others:

  When I was done dipping, I put the leftover chocolate in a bag and snipped a tiny bit off the corner, then drizzled the non-dipped side, just for fun.

  I put a little too much coconut oil in my chocolate, so they wouldn't firm up at room temperature. I just stuck mine in the refrigerator and they came out fine. In fact, I actually prefer them cold.

  So delicious.

  Here is the recipe all in one place:
  Give them a try! I think you'll like them. Oh, and for my mom, I have no doubt that these would be delicious 'healthified' =)

  Every one of these pictures were taken with my new camera... and most of them are unedited, except for the watermark and a little cropping! That makes me incredibly happy. I ordered a remote for it, as well as a spare battery, and I'm really excited to play with it more.

  Also! My Swedish Tracing Paper arrived, so I might actually get some sewing done in the near future. =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yarn Projects

  Being interrupted by lack of supplies in the middle of my last sewing project meant that I pulled out some other things, from a while back. One of them is this top, pattern here, that I started sometime last year. I worked on it steadily for several weeks, then put it away and haven't touched it until this week. Here's what I have so far:
This photo was taken with my new camera! I'm starting to figure it out. =)

  The pattern is pretty but I really haven't finished much of it. This isn't my only unfinished yarn project. I still have a half-done ripple afghan that I started when I was pregnant with my first daughter. In addition I have a basket-weave baby blanket, and a pair of baby booties that I can't seem to make identical.

  I've finished quite a few things, but they were all smaller projects. A scarf, my first knitting project, which I gave to my mom. A scarf and hat set for my youngest sister. A crocheted beret for my other sister.
Gaiw wearing the beret upside-down, when she was tiny
 Matching crocheted hats for the girls last Christmas (which came out a little funny because I invented the pattern)... funny how I've never finished knitting or crocheting anything for myself.

 I've also finished this little outfit:

And a few odds and ends when I was learning to crochet:

  I'm not sure if I want to finish the lace tunic I first showed you... the yarn is rough, feels uncomfortable on my fingers, and squeaks against my crochet hook. It's also a lot heavier than the recommended yarn. I've done several rows on it in the past few days, but I started off with the wrong size hook, a size H instead of a G, and had to frog it all. Should I keep working on it, and finish it up? Or tie it off and call it a doll blanket?

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Making Patterns

 I'm in the middle of creating some dress patterns for my daughters (with pictures for a tutorial!), and have run out of paper. I use either freezer paper or packaging paper for patterns most of the time. Unfortunately, the closest store that sells either is about 40 minutes away.... so I won't be able to complete the patterns for several days.

  What do you use for pattern-making? I just found out about something called Swedish Tracing Paper, which is a flexible paper that you can both sew and draw on, so it can be used for fitting. It sounds interesting, so I'm going to give it a try, but I'll have to order it online. =) Have any of you ever used it?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bias Binding And A Camera

  I haven't sewn much since bemoaning the state of my sloper... in fact, I haven't sewn on my sloper at all. I think I need some advice from a person who has actually fitted garments before, and who would know what to do. I did, however, bust out a large amount of bias binding:

  I only used 1/2 yard of fabric, but that right there is over 10 yards of 1/2" double-fold binding. Love it! And it looks so nice wrapped up on a card that I confiscated from a lace remnant:

  I was actually planning on making binding with some other fabric as well, but discovered to my chagrin that I failed to buy matching thread. Nothing I have will do, and the closest fabric stores are also lacking in options. Hopefully though, this binding will appear on a project on this blog in the near future, and I'll get the other fabric made up into binding soon. I bought 4 different sizes of bias tape makers too (1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 inch sizes), so maybe I'll have a little fun with that. =)

  I do have other news though! I found a DSLR camera on Craigslist! It's a Canon Eos Rebel xti 400d, and came with 3 lenses, a 28-90mm zoom lens, a 18-55mm zoom lens, and a 50 mm EF lens.  =) There is just one thing I wanted in a camera that this doesn't have: video capability. Considering that I found it for just $150, the price of a good point-and-shoot, I'm more than happy. Here is my camera:
  The quality of this photo is terrible, but that is because it was taken with my old (very old) camera, whose quality is steadily declining. Once I learn to use my NEW camera properly, I'm hoping I won't have nearly as many pictures like this. Getting there is hard, so far. I'm taking hints from Delia's hugely informative and helpful Mamarazzi series, and I found a manual for my camera on the Canon website, but it's a lot to take in. I spent most of yesterday fiddling with all the settings to get used to it, and I don't think I'm any closer to understanding it than when I first started. Have any of you used a DSLR before?

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, September 7, 2012

Oh, How I Wish...

...that I could just close my eyes and a perfectly-fitting sloper would appear.
I'm so tired of removing and inserting sleeves, fighting with zippers, and checking the fit.
My first sloper turned out so bad that I tossed it and started over from scratch.... my measurements were taken incorrectly that time. On the second try, the sloper fit fairly well, but it needed some width taken out, some length added, and lots of sleeve adjustments. So I added those changes to my paper pattern, and converted it to a princess-seam style. Now it is almost perfect - except those blasted sleeves.
I know, this doesn't tell you much, but it is very sheer and doesn't cover my belly, so I'm not going to model it!
 The shoulder seam now sits at the right place, but I can't move my arms, and this is the third set of sleeves. I think, but am not sure, that I need to add a bit more ease to the sleeve cap (which is not going to be fun, as I can't get the sleeves set in smoothly as it is). I'm guessing it will also help if I add some width to the upper back. Other than that, I just need to add a tiny bit of width to the front and I'll be finished.... but I don't want to do those sleeves AGAIN. And after I'm finished perfecting this, I still need to do the lower bodice and the skirt sloper. Whew. Now you know why I'd rather make cookies.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, September 3, 2012

Super Simple Cardigan

  I've been wishing for a cardigan to wear over things for a while, and since fall is coming soon, I thought it would be a good time to try making one.

  I started with a heavy-weight long-sleeved knit shirt and some light grey lace.

   I cut the shirt right up the center:

    Folded the edges under and pinned:

  Then pinned the lace along either side of the opening. I tucked the raw edges of the lace under the front edges so it would look finished:

  And finally, I sewed down both edges of the lace.

  Simple, right? This doesn't have fastenings of any kind, but it still works... I may add some later. It would also be possible to make this without any sewing involved... just use a fusible hem tape under the front edges and under the lace. You could substitute ribbon, bias tape, or almost any trim for the lace, or leave it off altogether.... there are a lot of ways you could vary this to make it your own. I actually have another shirt I want to try this on soon. =)

Thanks for stopping by!

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