Browsing the blog archives for February, 2009.

Valentines Day Rewind

Crafty, Domestic

Coming in about a week late, we had so many fun projects happening for Valentine’s Day I have to document them, late or not. The week of Valentine’s Day, I was excited (though honestly not surprised) that my oldest wee one (he’s 8 ) wanted to make his class valentines this year instead of buying those boring generic ones. We had a great time looking around online and in books together to come up with something a little different, but not so crazy we couldn’t get 21 of them done in four days.


We went with paper weaving construction paper into heart pockets! We’ve all been on an origami kick lately, and this was so close to that (still no glue, but obviously, some cutting – here is the video we used). We made some pink and purple and then red and purple ones for the girls, and blue and red ones for the boys. We picked up some heart shaped lollipops and had time to make another little treat to tuck inside!


Salt dough valentines! I love making salt dough ornaments for pretty much any occasion. They’re so easy to whip up, and though there are a few steps to making them pretty once they’re out of the oven, the steps are so quick these are pretty easy little treats. It was his idea to make put everyone’s initial on them, and to put the girls’ trinkets on ribbons. Cute!

He took this tray along with a vanilla-banana cake for his party and we tucked a few knitted hearts in his teacher’s package. He said everyone in his class loved them, and is now plotting what to craft for next year!

With his school fete taken care of, I focused on our Valentine’s Stitch n Bitch that weekend. These wee bags first appeared in Martha in February 2004 and I have made them over and over again since then. They’ve been used as gift bags for tiny treasures, they’ve held small Easter chocolates and at one point were even used as tree ornaments. They’re really fun to make because the scale can be adjusted so easily and the theme changes with the paper you choose. Simple!


I filled them with mini lipsticks, a heart shaped brownie and a lipgloss inside a lipgloss cozy! The lipgloss cozies were so silly, but cute – essentially just a tube large enough for the lipgloss to fit into.

Here are four of the six of them pictured, made with Valentine’s themed scrapbooking paper and red embroidery floss. I also made a heap of origami hearts and wrote everyone’s name in the corner of them as tags. I had them scattered on the table as well, which was so festive and handy when we unexpectedly had a few extra friends over (always so much fun!). The video tutorial for those is here, and super easy for folks who haven’t done much origami at all.


This week’s pie was Pear-Strawberry, adapted from the Pear-Raspberry that ran in this month’s Martha. I had intended to go with raspberries, but when I was at the market the selection was pretty sad and I went with the beautiful strawberries instead. It was insanely good. I also made a tray of cupcakes and brownies and even cupcakes with brownies stacked on top of them, because as you know, that’s just the way it is around here. The brownie-topped cupcakes are also from this month’s Martha. The others, both the regular cupcakes and the tiny ones are all standard chocolate cupcakes with pink-tinted vanilla frosting and a cinnamon heart on top.

We hosted a birthday party here last night for our dear friend Andrew, and it was hilarious. Full of fantastic food, crafty decorations and even some knitting! I’ll let you digest the Valentine’s post for now though.


Early Feb Birthdays and Valentine’s Prep


I kicked off my knitting this month with the most traditional knitting there is – a cozy! A hot water bottle cozy, at that! I found a wonderful pattern for a cabled one with a ribbed turtleneck-like trim so it really looks like a wee sweater. I made it from some Red Heart I got for Christmas for my Uncle Peter, the first birthday of the month!

It photographs a little brighter than it is, it’s only slightly darker and the brown is bang on. He’ll likely use it every night, I love giving gifts like that!

I got a random call from my mother just before I hit the bind off row on the cozy telling me she needed a pair of pink mittens for a friend at work. Since my days lately are mostly spent knitting and waiting for wee one #3 to arrive (when is that stork going to show up anyway?!), I had time to knit them up for her and still pretty much stay on schedule. She was happy.

I also just finished a couple of Transformers facecloths, I found the pattern on Ravelry, natch. These are for my dear friend Nichole’s wee one #1, Evan. He’s 5 today, and very much into Transformers. I hope he likes them! My husband machine and wee one #1 have asked me to make some for them since they’ve seen these.

I made wee cards for him and my Uncle Peter, and a larger one for Maeve, the daughter of another good friend, who also turns 5 today!

Last weekend was heaps of fun, loud and busy and congested in my kitchen. This weekend I decided to go the way of the quiet knitting evening, where just three of us gathered, ate and knit. A fantastic way to spend a Saturday night! I was making broccoli soup, and had enough for a whole pot all chopped up on the kitchen counter, when wee one #2 came over to help. She got her apron on, asked for a ponytail and promptly ate so much of that broccoli, I had to cut up some carrots too and make it Carrot-Broccoli soup!


Not that I am complaining about my kids eating veggies, it was just hilarious to be looking at about 1/4 cup less every time I turned from the pie I was also making.

This week’s pie was Red Plum Pie! I boiled the plums first for two reasons – one to help the skins slide off and one to cook them some before they were done up on the stove. I cut ‘Shh’ into the crust to underscore the difference in volume between last week and this week (and possibly next week), funny and yummy!

I’ve been procrastinating on knitting up a Brant toy. Mostly because I am looking for exactly the right pattern. I was going to make him out of Kimberly Chapman’s pattern (the one I made these guys from), but I’d like him to be bigger and I’m not sure the legs are right for this project. So I was thinking I could make him from the Kate from Knitty pattern, but I think it makes him too tubby! So I’ve moved on to Valentine’s Day prep instead.

After dinner I spent most of the evening leading up to bathtime on these little treasures. They knit up really quickly from whatever is on hand and they’re really cute. The pattern came from Martha Stewart, technically it’s to be stuffed with catnip but I’ve filled them with stuffing. I want to make a whole lot more, hang them in the window and make a garland from them!

I’m looking forward to getting the rest of the Valentine gear ready, while we wait for this wee one to decide she’s ready and make her grand entrance. I have to admit, it’s really unsettling not knowing when!


Chinese New Year Fete

Crafty, Domestic

This was the first year I hosted a Chinese New Year party, and while there were a few ideas I didn’t get to bring to life, I did do a lot of them and we all had a great time with it. The general idea going in to this was to incorporate some of the traditions of our Asian friends’ families, with a very May-style twist on them.

First, the menu. I roasted a whole chicken (for family unity), made peanut-broccoli chow mein noodles (for long life), Nigella Lawson’s clementine cake, Martha Stewart’s fortune cookies, and the standard chocolate bunt cake. This week’s pie was chicken-free chicken pot pie!

Nothing special about the chicken or the noodles or even the chickenless chicken pie (two veggie friends really love chicken pot pie, so, sans chicken, it’s a serious hit!). The cake and the cookies however, were a lot more interesting than I thought they’d be.

I have loved Nigella Lawson for years and I’m always into testing out her weirder recipes, though when I went looking for a recipe for some kind of desserty thing made from small citrus fruit I had no idea what I was looking for. I was reading Smitten Kitchen a couple of weeks ago and there it was, a clementine cake! The recipe seemed so very odd to me though, you boil the clementines for 2 hours and then mash them all up, rinds and all?! Also, the whole thing is essentially held together with just ground almonds and eggs – no flour at all. It was fantastic, and honestly, it was really refreshing.

Smitten Kitchen says ‘It is ridiculously moist, not bitter and surprisingly popular at a dinner party. You know, until you tell people they’re eating a cake of boiled rinds.’ Not surprisingly, my friends didn’t seem to care in the least and a few had seconds.

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