Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Brown Sweater: Update (oh man)

Lengthened the sleeve by 3 1/2 inches. I've been working on this for over a year now. Pathetic :(

Monday, March 7, 2011

Perfume Making

Remember I took a class on making perfumes at The Nova Studio back in December? Well my Aunt requested that I help her come up with a custom perfume for her to use :) Check out our mess:

My ingredients

My oils, some coffee beans, and some containers.

Things got more and more messy as time went on :)
 When I took the class, I had the opportunity to make my own blend, that I ended up liking a lot. But when I got home, I had a feeling that the blend was way too juvenile for me to wear (it smelled surprisingly similar to a 50/50 bar). So when I was helping my Aunt come up with her perfumes, I also added another essential oil to my blend. The addition? Ginger grass. Literally one of my least favorite scents.

And now I love the blend & feel like I can wear it :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Raspberry Bread

Has anyone noticed that I like making bread? I like making bread. Here's one I made recently:

I used this recipe, but instead of just splitting it into two for two loaves, I split it into four. I put half of each loaf into the loaf pan, put a layer of fresh raspberries down the center, kneaded crumbled pecans into the remaining halves, and then set the second half on top of the raspberries. I had no idea how the loaves would turn out, because I've never used fresh fruit in bread before, but I decided to go with it. 

It was pretty tasty :) Especially toasted! I don't know what it is about homemade bread, but when you toast it, it gets nice and crispy on the outside, but delicious and soft on the inside :) I love!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pineapple Jam

I wasn't sure if it was possible to make jam from pineapples. Turns out it is, as long as you use canned pineapples :)

I used a recipe given to me by Nick's grandmother. 1 can of fruit, 3 cups of sugar, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a packet of pectin boiled for a few minutes and then ladled into jars. 

The pineapple decals were a gift from my boss. It makes the jam look very happy to me :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fail Muffins

So remember how I made that bread with a little Teff flour and it was amazing? Turns out replacing all the wheat flour with teff isn't so hot. Meet Fail Muffins:

Fail muffins were so dry that even when I split one in half and filled it with homemade cranberry spice jam, it was inedible. Yuck.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Teff Flour

Teff is really great stuff. "Teff flour is made from the grain teff, and is of considerable importance in eastern Africa (particularly around the horn of Africa). Notably, it is the chief ingredient in the bread injera, an important component of Ethiopian cuisine" source. It's a pretty healthy flour, and I bought some to try to make injera.

And when I realized that making injera isn't something I wanted to spend a lot of time doing, I tucked the flour away and forgot about it.

Until I recently wanted to bake some bread (because baking bread is fun) and found the little bag of teff flour in the back of my pantry.

I substituted 1/4 cup of teff flour for 1 cup of wheat flour in the recipe, and the bread was delicious.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gingerbread Grandfather Clock

My gingerbread didn't come out quite the way I wanted it to. Not particularly surprising, but sad nonetheless. Here's some pictures:

You can see the clock face through the glass here

Here's the whole thing. Yup, tilted.

There's a pendulum in there. Even if you can't really see it through the yellow-ish candy glass.

Next year I've got to do something more simple. 5 pieces or less is my goal.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nick's 21st Bday

We really celebrate our birthdays in this household, because celebrating other things out & about is way too expensive (like Valentines Day, for example. Never go out to dinner on Valentine's Day). My birthday is mid-May, and his is Mid-December, both times where it's really cheap to go out and do things. Perfect.

This year, Mr. Nicholas turned 21. I suppose we could have been all traditional-like and gone to a club and gotten wasted and not remembered the whole celebration but I have to be honest and let you know that I'm not into that crowd. I don't think I've been to a club in over three years, and the last time I got drunk was nearly four years ago. Not my thing, nope.

So instead of getting HAMMERED BABY we went wine tasting instead. And since it was December and the weather was coldish, there were almost no lines and prices were lower than usual. It was excellent.

We went by three wineries: Artesa, which is my favorite for the cool building and art; Sterling, my favorite for the great tour; and we stopped by Catello di Amerosa, which we are planning on going to next time (because it is so cool!).

One downside of going on couple trips: taking photos of yourself.

So we felt pretty lucky when someone offered to take our picture for us!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cat Treats 2

I made more treats for my cat, using a different recipe.

This is cornmeal, flour, and tuna. It's like, a cup of cornmeal, a cup of flour, and a can of tuna. And my cat wouldn't eat them. That's the last time I bake for her picky behind.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Mr. Nicolas and I really like tea. Really really like it. And as a treat to ourselves on holidays and special occasions we buy ourselves new special teas :) Here's one of the last ones we bought (for Christmas :)

This is kiwi strawberry..."tea". Cuz there's actually no tea involved. It's just fruit. But it's delicious! Especially sweetened by honey :).

We get all our loose leaf tea (and "tea") from Far Leaves Tea on College Ave. in Berkeley.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

I made the gingerbread for my sculpture, but I had some left over, so I made cookies. To make them, I rolled my dough flat and then sprinkled peppermint and butterscotch pieces in them, rolled them up, and then sliced them.

They were pretty good, but they're the type of cookie that is constantly droopy/sticky, so if you stack them they become permanently stuck together. Lame. I have this weird idea that food should be both tasty AND pretty :p

These were made with this gingerbread recipe.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ginger Bread Walls

This eventually became a grandfather clock (albeit not a very good one). Do you see it? I used the same recipe I mentioned yesterday, but I used stick butter instead of tub :)

It still wasn't as strong as I wanted it to be :(

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ginger Bread

My family has had a gingerbread competition for two years in a row now, and when I was planning this year's design, I had to find a recipe that I thought would work. I used this recipe, and got...

It was kind of the recipe's fault, and kind of mine. I tried to use margarine. Out of a tub. Huge no-no for buildings. 

On the bright side, this stuff was delicious :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Christmas Hotpad

Gather Your Materials:

around 2 sq ft of cloth (this is a great pattern for scraps)
1/8 yd batting (or more if you want a thicker pad)

One of my family members found this great piece of cloth for me. Mr. Nicholas' momma loves butterflies - and when is the last time you saw a butterfly Christmas pattern?

Step 1: Measure your cloth and batting.

Use another hot pad to measure out how much cloth you'll need. Don't forget to double the size of course :) You don't necessarily have to double the size of the batting, depending on how thick you want it to be. Since I bought the cheapest batting in the store, I decided to double it.

Step 2: Stack your cloth.

You want to have your two pieces of cloth (right sides together) on top of the batting. This is very important. Layer both pieces of the cloth on top of the batting, or things will turn out wonky and your batting will be outside the hot pad :)

Step 3: Make your loop (optional)

You know how some hot pads have a little loop you can use to hang them up? If you want to include that in your hot pad, cut out a 2 inch by 5 inch strip of cloth.

Sew it right sides together across one short edge and the long edge.

Trim your corners. It will be nearly impossible to get a nice, sharp corner if you don't get these very close to the seam (but of course you don't want to cut your stitches either!)

Turn right side out...

And iron flat (pretty :) Here's where you find out if the cloth you're using can be used for a hot pad or not. If the heat ruins the cloth, you should probably find something else to use it for! Unless you're one of those people who hangs hot pads on the wall that you don't plan to use?

Here's what not to do: (even though it looks like it makes sense!)

Instead stick your look between the two pieces of cloth. Pin the little guy if you need to make sure he stays in place. In this photo you can see again the order of your stack:

Step 4: Sew everything together, leaving a 2 inch gap.

Step 5: Trim the edges & corners.

Step 6: Turn right side out.

If you did it right, all the batting should be inside the hot pad. It works better that way :)

Step 7: Iron & close the hole.

To close the hole, sew the gap closed a little in from the edge, after tucking everything in. That may look weird at first, so just keep on sewing around the whole pad when you're finished closing the hole, making a nice border around your hot pad.

Step 8: Diamond Quilting. (optional)

I guess you could technically stop here and have a plain hot pad, but I like the ones that have the diamond quilting. Start with a big X from corner to corner, and then keep cutting  halves to get nice diamond shapes.

Step 9: Cut your threads and use :)

Purty, right?

Friday, January 14, 2011

21 Before 22 (Mr. Nicholas)

1. Learn the art of fishing.
2. Catch my first fish (stingrays don't count)
3. Do most of the reading for every class. (Don't want to say all...that's impossible.) 5/11/11
4.Use my gift certificate to Chez Panisse. 5/24/11
5. Get my hair trimmed (for the first time in 6 years) 1/30/11
6. Purchase a bottle of alcohol! And get my ID (so I can prove I'm 21. Ridiculous.) 2/19/11
7. Own a (the) Little People CD! 1/29/11
8. Eat more vegetables. (Yeah, Cassie). And fruit.
9. Be nicer to random strangers so they're not scared of me (I think I just look angry to other people).
10. Find clothes that suit my image (present a more adult image of myself).
11. Learn to sew.
12. Read more for pleasure than for school.
13. Tame Lady Grey.
14. Get better at Chess.
15. Try to enforce the idea of "biracial" more (I'm neither black nor white, people).
16. Watch more than one movie in a day.2/11/10
17. Go to the Berkeley Pier.
18. Do some at-home exercises (push-ups and sit-ups)
19. Floss every night!
20. Find more excuses to use Draino (that stuff is pretty intense). 11/6/11

21. Continue to refuse to get drunk.

This is Mr. Nicholas' 21 before 22 list. He actually turned 21 back on December 21st (21 on 12/21) and we just now got around to writing this, but it was fun so it's ok. I love these lists :) I stole the idea from Elsie though, so just nobody get mad at me :/

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tunisian Crochet Zelda Tapestry

I didn't make this, Mr. Nicholas did. But it's pretty amazing, so I'm sharing anyway :) Project page here.

Isn't he good? This is Tunisian Crochet - I haven't even learned how to do this yet!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Inspiration Book

When I took the perfumes class with Lori, she talked about keeping a notebook of all the perfumes you've made and what you think of them, etc. etc....

And I don't make a lot of perfumes, but I do make a lot of other things, so I decided to put everything in a small "inspiration" book.

So this is where I keep things I want to try, make, or whatever. And also comments about what I think once an item is made. Here's a glimpse of a couple pages where I found a couple items of clothings I want to try to sew/knit:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cranberry-Banana-Walnut Bread

So I'm pretty sure this is the best loaf of bread I've ever made.

Except for the part where I was worried about a soft spot in the middle and re-baked the rest of the loaf, only to leave it rock hard and inedible.

But before I ruined it, it was amazing.

And I had a loaf that my mom made from the same recipe, which was equally amazing.

Here it is (and see the recipe here):

Before I decided to make this one, I considered this one instead...if anyone makes it, be sure to let me know if it turns out better.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cranberry Spice Jam

Yikes, I suck. Please forgive me?

Here's something else I made for Christmas: Cranberry Spice Jam. I was already buying cranberries for Cranberry Vodka, so this is what I used the rest of them for.

The recipe is here:

Cranberry Freezer Jam

I don't need to give you directions, because that's what the link is for :)

But I suggest going with the spiced version. It's super yummy. We gave a lot of it away, but I have two 16 oz jars of it reserved for us. We're a little greedy :)

For Christmas Nick's grandmother gave me another jam recipe, some jam jars, pectin, sugar, and fruit to make more jam. I love my family :) (I like to claim them for my own. Nick doesn't know. Don't mention it to him, k? Awesome, thanks).

So you'll be seeing more jams soon :) But here's the Cranberry for now:

MMmmm six cups of sugar :)