granny square update.

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A few weeks into the year and I’ve been making some progress on the granny square blanket. Here’s to keeping the momentum going!

minecraft perler beads.

minecraft

Milo loves following patterns, puzzles, and building legos. So perler beads are a great activity for him! After seeing how much he enjoyed a few of the $1 kits from Micheals, I bought him a giant tub of them.  So we have been busy looking at what people have created with them and then getting inspired to make our own creations. Milo has recently been playing minecraft, so we thought these little characters would translate well into the beads.  He loved how these turned out – I especially love the sword. He took these to school the next day to show his friends, so that declares these an absolute success! HA!

spinach and artichoke dip.

spinachdip

I made this dip for new years eve and it was so so delicious. I think I ate half the dip myself! Its creamy and garlicky – this is definitely going to be my go-to party food! We served it warm with crusty bread, and with some pita chips. If you have a vitamix, it comes together very quickly too!

I found the recipe here, but modified it a bit to my liking.

For the spinach artichoke dip:
    • 1 can artichoke hearts, thoroughly drained and roughly chopped
    • 2 c. fresh spinach, loosely packed and measured first and then thinly sliced
    • 1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • Freshly ground black pepper and (optional) chili flakes
For the cashew mozzarella:
  • 1/4 c. raw cashews, soaked (see notes)
  • 1 c. plain, unsweetened nondairy milk ( I added about a half cup more towards the end)
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tb. + 1/2 tsp. corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tspn garlic powder
  • 3-4 tbsp nutritonal yeast
  • 1 cup daiya mozzerella
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika

Instructions

Prep the vegetables:
    1. Toss together the artichoke hearts, spinach, white onion, garlic, black pepper, and chili flakes (if using), and put into an 8×8 pan.
Make the cashew cheese:
    1. Combine all ingredients in a vitamix or food processor (if not using a vitamix, make sure to soak your cashews!) until smooth.
    2. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Stir every few seconds, making sure to scrape around the bottom of the saucepan to keep from sticking. Stir until this thickens, Once it thickens, I added about a half cup more of soymilk, and a cup or so of shredded daiya. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for another 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
    3. Pour this cheese over your dip that is in the pan and mix together.
Bake the spinach artichoke dip:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until hot all the way through and the top is slightly crusty and browned.

patchwork bunny.

bunny

I’m playing catch up for christmas here….I made another project from the quilts my husband’s great grandmother made. This time I turned it into a bunny for my mother in law for christmas. I used this pattern from purl soho. It was fairly easy to understand – I had some trouble but mostly b/c the quilt was so tattered and delicate in some places. This was actually my second one because the original one kept tearing because the quilt was in such bad shape. I was much more careful with this one and used pieces of the quilt that were in better standing. I love how this turned out and I think it will make a lovely keepsake. I really enjoyed this pattern though and I want to make some using regular fabric, or felt, as it suggests, so stay tune for that! I think they would make great baby gifts.

happy new year!

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Happy new year!

This blog, which started as new years resolution to make something every day, is now entering its fourth year! I’m going to try to keep at it again this year – not blogging every day, but im going to continue to make things and document them here!

One thing I’d like to do more of is crochet.  Or at least crochet away my my yarn stash!  This granny square project has been haunting me for almost 5 years. I started it with the intention to make a granny square blanket. I had never crocheted in my life, and I hit up some friends one afternoon determined NOT to learn how to crochet, but how to crochet a granny square, and a granny square only. I swore I had enough hobbies and didn’t need any more! So they taught me how to make a granny square and I made about 100 of them for a few months while my son was a baby. I then took a stab at a few more projects since then and have realized that I DO really like crocheting and I understand it A WHOLE lot more than knitting. Im able to figure out projects on my own and things just make sense to me.  Also, it seems that I can usually find a you tube video that helps me through what im trying to figure out.

This bag of granny squares has been staring at me all these years and I’m determined to do something about it this year!

Ive seen granny square a day projects, and I think about starting one EVERY year, but I already have so many made….What I really need to know how to do is connect these babies. OH and remember how the heck we actually made these squares so that I can make more….

I took a look at how to make other granny squares with a round center and after a few trial and error attempts – I figured it out.  And now that I understand HOW to crochet, these were a breeze to whip up and they look so much more consistent than they have in the previous ones I’ve created.  So I weeded some out. I don’t have 100 anymore. Im ok with that because I have so much yarn laying around I can easily whip up some more. And they look so much better.

Next up: connecting these bad boys. I tried whip stitching them and I tried connecting with single crochets.  But heres the problem; since I didn’t really know what I was doing, when I initially made all  these, they are all different sizes. They aren’t really consistent.  And when I crochet them together it doesn’t lie flat and looks kind of awful.  I sat on it for a few days and realized its ok; this first 100 were a learning process and now that I know what I’m going to do, I’m going to just start over.  I think that crocheting them as you go method would look much nicer anyway.  But THEN I realized, that I could just cut the white border off the ones I ALREADY made, and the crocheting as you go method WILL work and I can save a lot of the work I already did! I got rid of about 1/3 of them b/c they were kind of on the bigger side (probably from when I was still learning) and started making a whole bunch more on my own. I probably made about close to 30 this weekend. I started to do the crochet as you go method, as well as sewing in the ends and I have about 12 crocheted together now and I’m SO much happier with it than when I started. AND the thought that I will actually complete this project this year makes me really really happy!

So I will continue to keep you posted on my progress with this blanket, but for now I’m excited that this project that I was so passionate about, will finally get some love again!

gingerbread granola.

GINGERBREAD

Happy new year! Gingerbread cookies are probably one of my favorite holiday treats.  I have made it in cake form, waffles, cupcakes, biscotti, cookies, and now granola! I have been steering clear of all of the above because I love it so and I will eat it so! So I’m attempting something on the healthier side – with some granola. It’s not too sweet, but super robust in flavor, just like gingerbread! It came together in no time, and didn’t use very many ingredients at all.  All which I had on hand.

Next year I hope to add gingerbread house to that list! One of these days Ill work up the courage to make one….

The original recipe is found here.

  • 3 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp coconut palm sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
WET
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp molassesAdd ins: crystalized ginger, coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium low heat, warm the coconut oil, maple syrup, and molasses. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly onto a a large baking sheet and bake for 18–22 minutes, stirring near the halfway point to ensure even cooking. The coconut oil will help this granola crisp up nicely, but be sure to watch it carefully as it browns quickly.
  5. Once the granola is visibly browned, remove from the oven and let cool completely on the pan before storing. Add any mix ins now.
  6. Keep in a container that has an air-tight seal; I use a big mason jar.

popsicle stick tree ornaments.

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The ornament making just doesn’t stop! Earlier this week a note from school went home mentioning that the kids can bring a small trinket or card to pass out to the kids in the classroom during their holiday party. I hate when milo comes home with junk and the last thing a kid needs is another bouncy ball, pencil or eraser.  And they discourage candy. So I thought milo could make something.  He needed 23 of them to pass out – so for $2.09 I was able to get 100 popsicle sticks, use some green paint i already had and get rid of some of my many many buttons I have laying around! We set up a sort of assembly line  and knocked these out in two nights. I first had milo paint all the sticks.  Once those were dry, we glued them together with the hot glue gun. I did the hot-gluing, milo added the ornaments. He had the idea to use his star stickers, instead of me making 23 stars. (thank goodness for that – my star making abilities arent so hot)  The following night we made the gift tags, again I made him sign his name 23 times and we attached them to string to hang the ornament and then glued that to the back.

I think this was a great little project to show/teach kids the importance of a handmade gift.  Milo is always coming home from school with drawings from other kids in the class that they make for eachother. I know this was probably alot of work crammed in the course of two nights for a kindergartner, but I think he had fun doing it, and i know he will be proud to pass these out to all his friends!

so to recap, for these you will need:
popsicle sticks (i used the fatter ones)
green paint
hot glue
sequins, buttons, stickers, glitter
cardstock/paper for the trunk
string

1. paint all your popsicle sticks
2. Once they are dry, glue them in a triangle shape.
3. Decorate your tree with buttons, sequins, stickers, glitter, etc. Add a star on top!
4. Cut a rectangle from brown card stock/paper and glue to the bottom for a trunk.
5. Glue string on the top back of the tree.

upcycled quilt ornaments.

quiltornament

Remember when I made these pillowcases out of my husband’s grandmother’s old quilts? Well there was alot of scraps leftover and I was trying to figure out what to do with them….I made some simple ornaments cutting hearts out of them, then sewing around the edges to keep them together. I also had a bunch of my husband’s grandfather’s buttons, so I use them to embellish them a bit. Im such a sucker for ornaments and I think this is going to be a lovely way to honor both his great grandmother and grandfather and have their memory with us at christmas!

double chocolate peppermint cookies.

peppermintcookies

I’m going to go ahead and say it. These just might be my most favorite cookies ever. Chocolate and mint is definitely a winning combination – so when you put this in cookie form – OH MY!

My husband participated in a cookie swap at work and asked me to make something. I had made something like this before….But I couldn’t find the recipe.  Well look no further because THESE are the cookies you want to bring to your holiday parties, cookie swaps, etc.

Original recipe found here and then veganized (and doubled b/c choclate and mint!!!) below. This recipe makes about 24 cookies.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks earth balance)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • Egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs ( i used the powdered kind)
  • 1/2 tsp natural peppermint extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2-3 candy canes, finely crushed
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the earth balance and sugar together for about 1-2 minutes. Add egg replacer, peppermint extract and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides.
  3. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder to a sifter and sift gradually over the wet ingredients mixing as you go. Mix until well combined.
  4. Add chocolate chips and stir in with a mixing spoon.
  5. Form the dough into small balls (heaping 1 Tbsp) and place 1.5 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Press the tops down and then top with a few more chocolate chips if your prefer.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes – the edges should start to dry but the tops will still be slightly soft looking. Let set on the cookie sheet for a few minutes more but sprinkle crushed candy cane on immediately.
  7. Transfer to a cooling rack to rest until completely cooled. Store in an airtight container to keep fresh for up to a few days or freeze for several weeks.

pinecone elf ornament.

elf

I love these little guys! Since we got a real christmas tree this year, these were the perfect addition. I used martha stewart’s directions to make this little pine cone elf ornament for my tree.

heres what you need:

  • Elf Template (you can find the pdf to download here)
  • Pinecones
  • Felt
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Hot-glue gun
  • 3/4-inch wooden craft bead
  • Thin-point sharpie
  • tiny bell, bead or ball
  • string1. Cut out your pattern pieces and trace onto the felt. Cut these pieces out of the felt. Make a scarf by cutting a long strip of felt as well. Set these piece aside.
    2. Glue your wooden bead to your pinecone. I made mine with the wider side towards the top. Glue your hat on your wooden bead, and add the tiny bell, bead or ball you have for to the top of your hat.  Draw a face on your bead with the sharpie.
    3. Cut your pipe cleaners to be about 4-5 inches in length. Hot glue them onto your pinecone.  Affix the mittens and shoes to the pipecleaners.
    4. Glue some string to the back of your ornament if you wish to hang it.
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