31 October 2013


Just checking that the Blog Reader works. If you got here through the blog reader/feed, please leave a comment?? :) It hasn't been showing my posts, trying to solve the problem. Thanks!

28 October 2013

Make Something Monday week four

Hi there, and welcome to Make Something Monday, week four. A recap of any and everything I deem worthy of posting, that I've made in the last week.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was in a knitting funk. Well, it's gone. Now I can't seem to put the needles down! It's always that way for me, though - knit like crazy for a few weeks, then stop altogether for a few weeks, or only knit when I have to. Anyone else like that?
I got three stuffed animals done this week, plus a cute dress for one of them.
That's the three animals I've made this week, plus Mr. Fox who I finished a couple of weeks ago. But he looked lonely on the dresser by himself, so I threw him in the photo. They look snugly to me. Or maybe I've just been looking at stuffed animals for too long and giving them personalities. Who knows? I made this badger and raccoon:
Badger doesn't have a mouth yet, still debating if he needs one. Add Mr. Fox and you get the backyard bandits:
Ravelled here: http://ravel.me/NataliesKnits/509tn
Also finished this week, and probably my favorite stuffed animal I've made ever (I posted her in the making last week)...this little winter bunny:
I don't think she's going to be a secret Santa gift, as I had predicted. I think Magdalena has called dibbs. Which is OK. Because I don't really want to give her up. Ravelled here: http://ravel.me/NataliesKnits/bgiadd
On the needles right now:
Another fox. I don't know why, but I am digging the foxes. I figured since I think of the other one as a boy, I would make one I think of as a gal. She will have a little heart dress:
Plus a peek of my knitting bag, in case you wanted to know what it looked like! Being Ravelled here: http://ravel.me/NataliesKnits/h6evg.
What did you make this week?

Linking up to:

24 October 2013

Homeschooling Friday - week three, Fall Inchies

Welcome to Homeschooling Friday, week three! Homeschooling Friday is a recap of our week in homeschooling, with any new or exciting crafts we've tried along the way.
This week we learned about the letter C and continued learning about fall. We read lots of books about deer and cats, made cupcakes and homemade crescent rolls:
I read the book Millions of Cats to M and her friend Mr. T. Then I had them draw cats and act like cats - makeup and everything. Lots of fun ensued - the book is a great one, definitely recommend it!
This week, one of the kids I babysit had a birthday. So, we made pumpkin muffins:
I used a box mix which I doctored up with some Ghiradelli chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. They quickly turned into cupcakes (it was pointed out to me that cupcake, not muffin, started with a C):
I got store bought tubes of black and orange frosting, black sprinkles and cream cheese icing, and let the kids go wild. I have to say, they're mighty awesome looking.
We made some Very Hungry Caterpillars:
Once again, I got the idea from that artist woman. Magdalena's friend, Ms. C was here for the afternoon, after we had taken pictures (I don't have a printer so we had to go to the library) so she made one without a picture, which is just as cute:
This is something we've been loving to do lately:
Wet paper painting a solid color, then covering it with plastic wrap to make a cool effect!
The base of the caterpillar.
Once again, we made inchies! I love making these with Magdalena. They're like nine mini art projects, and each one is so close to instant gratification.
My professional way of cutting out inchies:
That Dora book was the straightest thing we had on had! Or I was just being lazy. You pick. Magdalena loved a new technique we tried. Put some watery paint in the corner, and blow with a straw!
Makes a very cool effect.
Once again, we didn't have everything that artist woman used, but used what we had. I do need to get more art supplies, though.
Not sure what that one in the middle row all the way to the right is supposed to be. I told her to do what she wanted, so she did another straw blowing exercise. We're calling it a spider!
Once again, it was all mounted on poster board:
The bottom one in the right-hand corner is just a list of all of the things we love most about fall. We didn't have what was used in the example we followed, and using construction paper instead would have made it look too similar to a couple of the other ones we'd already made. Or, once again, I was being lazy at the end of a long project. Not sure sometimes!
We are getting quite the little gallery going!
How was your week in homeschooling?


Linking up to:
For the Kids Fridays at SunScholars.com

21 October 2013

Make Something Monday Week Three and Giveaway Winner

My knitting mojo is back! I have only fully finished one thing this week, but I am well on my way to another finish, and I must say, they're both super cute. I've been wanting to make some Christmas type stuffies for the December fair I sell at every year, but not something so Christmassy that it couldn't just as well be played with every other time of the year. Every time I have tried selling something at the artisan fairs that is pretty much exclusively Christmas, it never sells. So, I've made a bean bag animal that can be a Christmas elf bear, or just be a green and white stripe bear any other time of the year:
For some reason he looks more teal or blueish, but he is a nice green. I will take a better picture for next week when I have a few more done!
I am going to make some red and white stripe one as well as blue and white polar bear.
I am currently working on this cutie:
She's going to have a blue and white snowflake design dress. She's going to be for whomever I get for Secret Santa this year.
Agh, I can not believe I am making posts about Christmas, when Halloween isn't until next week! It's the time frame of a knitter - I live months in advance, I tell you!
What did you make this week?

Linking up to:

Ok, now onto why I am sure you are all actually here, the winners of my three skein giveaway!
Using the random number generator from random.org, I chose a winning comment:

Which is comment:
Congrats, Danielle! Please e-mail me at natalie@nantucketknitter.com or nataliesknits on Ravelry with your mailing address and I will get your yarn to you ASAP.
Thanks everyone for entering, and check back soon as I have another giveaway in the works!

17 October 2013

Homeschooling Friday - Week Two

We had an awesome week! I love fall, I love October, and I love Halloween, (plus my birthday was Wednesday) so there was no way it wouldn't be an awesome week. I have decided that Halloween is going to be a major holiday in this house from now on. I am talking Christmas major. Mini Halloween stockings, advent calenders, exchanging gifts, cookies, crafts, the whole shebang. If Magdalena goes back to public school in the future, I may make her stay home the weekend before to make and bake with me and have a big party after school.
We spent the week on Halloween crafts, and learning about the letter B and the number one.
We made bird masks on Monday:
Butterflies on Tuesday:
On Wednesday, there was no way I was going to adhere to a strict diet on my birthday, so we spent the day baking cookies. Chocolate and vanilla Day of the Dead skull cookies, to be precise:
These, seriously, are a can't miss. The cookie above it the absolute best looking one we got, but keep in mind I had a five year old helper. But taste wise, they're amazing, no matter how they look! Recipe here: http://www.nantucketknitter.com/2013/10/day-of-the-dead-cookies.html! (I originally had the recipe in this post, but it deserves it's own post. Seriously.)
We also made these amazingly fun crafts this week:
It's Halloween, and it starts with B, perfect! (I didn't take any step by step pictures with Boo, might be a good thing as the post is long enough without them!) For Boo we followed part of this inchie idea: http://www.thatartistwoman.org/2011/10/halloween-inchies-part-1.html
We followed the ideas here for this one, roughly: http://www.thatartistwoman.org/2012/10/halloween-inchies-2012.html. I cut three inch squares for both projects, because I thought two inches would be too hard to work with, with a five and four year old. (Magdalena's friend Mr. T was here for one of the projects.)
We didn't have everything she used on hand, like bubble wrap and googly eyes, but we made do with what we had. They were such fun projects, I will be doing these for every holiday, and I think for gifts as well.
We painted all of the backgrounds of the little squares first, as well as collaged the center one, then let everything dry whilst we went and ran some errands.
I wouldn't use sand on them next time. It was cool because M loved watching the paint being sucked up by the sand, and it left a nifty effect. But it was way too hard to glue anything on afterwards. Although, I don't have any liquid white glue now, so we were working with glue sticks, and M dumped a ton of sand on them, so that may have had something to do with it.
Once everything was dried, we got to work on the details.
Our structured projects don't normally take so long, or require quite so much work; I think that was good for a change to have an all day project. Plus one that requires such attention to detail, for a five year old.
For the background, I cut a piece of poster board big enough to hold all the mini projects, with an inch or so border between each one and all around. Then, I let Magdalena go wild on it with water colors. I think after so many hours of such structure, it was good to let loose!
I think this one is getting its own frame! We are going to be working on a fall theme of this same project next week, then a Thanksgiving one as well! Seriously, fun, fun, fun. The website, that artist woman, has been a major source of inspiration since I came across it. I will be referring back to it through out the year. Go check it out, you won't be disappointed!

Linking up to:
For the Kids Fridays at SunScholars.com

Maya's Mexican Day of the Dead Cookies

We made these cookies this week, and I was going to put them into the post with Homeschooling Friday, but again, thought it was long enough without the recipe. This way, I can really go in depth with the pictures. :)

From chocolate holidays, by Alice Medrich.

The cookie above was the absolute best looking we got. This is what most of the batch looked like:

After those came out of the oven, I decided just to make them circular layered cookies. They still ended up looking like those above, because I had a five year old helper. But seriously tasty cookies! These instructions are for making the skulls, but you can just roll them circular then layer a chocolate and vanilla cookie, and bake according to these directions.

Vanilla dough:
* 2 C all-purpose flour
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 8 T (1 stick) butter, softened
* 1 C sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
To make vanilla dough, mix flour, baking powder, and salt together with whisk or fork. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. On low speed, add flour mixture until just incorporated. Form dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Set aside.

Chocolate dough:
* 1 C all-purpose flour
* 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1/8 tsp salt
* 8 T (1 stick) butter, softened
* 1/2 C packed brown sugar
* 1/2 C granulated sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
To make chocolate dough:
Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt with a whisk or fork. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy but not fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. On low speed, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Form dough into a log the same size and length as vanilla log. If the doughs are soft and sticky, put in freezer to harden up.

To shape skulls:
Reshape each log so they're skull shaped, with a thinner and for the chin and jaw and wider end for the cranium. Wrap and refrigerate the chocolate dough.
Form features in the vanilla dough, using the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes for the eyes the entire length of the log. Form nose with a skewer, poking two holes for nostrils. Form mouth with narrow table or butter knife, inserting it and wiggling back and forth. Don't try for perfection! It's the irregularities that make is spooky!

Chill both doughs at least two hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut chocolate dough into 1/8 inch slices and place them at least 1 1/2 inches apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Cut the vanilla dough into 1/8 inch slices and place one slice on top of each chocolate slice. Bake until pale golden at the edges, around 12 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking, top and bottom and front to back.
Slide parchment paper onto cooling racks, or transfer with metal spatula directly to cooling racks, waiting 1 to 2 minutes for cookies to cool and harden before moving them.

Cool completely before stacking or storing. Cookies keep about one week in an airtight container, if they stay around that long.

When I see this face, who cares if I didn't get perfection?!

PS - if the Day of the Dead skulls don't work out, you can always just roll and cut the cookies (or give the dough to the kids and let them go wild):

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