Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Earwarmer Headbands

Since the New Year started, I've been making a lot of headbands for a local boutique. I have a few extras, so they're going in the ArtFire Shop.

White headband with Red and silver strand cabbage rose, silver pearl accent

Fuzzy cream headband with burgundy cabbage rose, three pearl accent

Purple and silver headband, white and purple layered flowers, jewel accent

Spring color headband with turquoise cabbage rose, silver pearl accent

Shades of green headband with white cabbage rose, green pearl accent

Lots of bead crochet items will be going up soon!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

German Chocolate Brownies

My hubby is a huge fan of German Chocolate Cake.

When I came across this recipe for German Chocolate Brownies, I knew I had to try it for him.
It's a three step recipe, but the final product is totally worth it. Want to try it?

German Chocolate Brownies
12 oz. pecans halves
2/3 C brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13" baking dish.
Chop pecans in a food processor until very fine. Dump into another bowl and mix with brown sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Spread and press down in baking dish. Bake for about 15 minutes (it will probably come out of the oven still bubbling and smelling delicious!).

Brownie layer:
9x13" boxed brownie mix
eggs, water, and oil as directed on package

While the crust is baking, mix together the brownie batter. Pour over baked crust and return to oven; bake as directed.

3 egg yolks
1 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 C heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C pecan pieces
2 C shredded coconut

In mixer, combine egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Mix in softened butter until combined. Slowly add the heavy cream; stir in vanilla. Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until you reach about 180 degrees. It should coat the back of a spoon. Pour into a bowl to let it cool, then stir in the pecans and coconut. Allow brownies and topping to cool; spread topping on brownies.

Beautiful, delicious, decadent, glorious, rich, sweet, crunchy-gooey, not for those with nut allergies...

Hubby's verdict: Everything there is to love about German Chocolate cake without having to endure the really dry cake. =)

Try it and tell me how it turns out. It's a repeat recipe for our house.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Torte ...Afghan

Separate thoughts that will eventually converge:

Thought 1: I generally stray away from panel patterns on afghans. The only one I had ever done was to highlight a gorgeous variegated Christmas yarn I found one year. It stretched my abilities, but it's very pretty, so we love it.

Thought 2: I've had my eye on a pattern for quite a while, and I wanted to get my yarn when the sales were just right. It's just a chunky afghan that's done with two strands together. It's very warm and functional but requires much yarn. I received some gift cards and figured that would be a perfect use!

We picked up the yarn, and hubby picked out the colors. He's good at that sort of thing. The colors were so pretty that I started second-guessing my pattern choice.

Uh oh.

Well, I picked out several patterns online and a book of patterns, and I asked hubby what pattern he liked for the colors he picked.

Thoughts converge: He picked a panel pattern. We both loved it for the colors.

10 days later...

Behold the Chocolate Raspberry Torte Afghan! It's very warm, and saying its name makes you hungry for some sweets!

It's a perfect mix of pretty and practical. Such warmth!

How do you feel about panel patterns? Do you love them? Hate them? Never try them?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Necklace and Earrings

More Crafty Sisters Teamwork ahead:

My darling sister made the necklace for me (aww!), and I made the earrings by sort of following Rachel's tutorial here. (I didn't make them into a ring like Rachel did--the two sides just dangle freely, and I used a different earring hook that had to be thread onto the jump ring right along with the beads. Tedious! But they were on sale, so I went for it.)

Now I realize that the only-showing-the-smile-and-not-the-whole-face thing is pretty creepy, but here's the sad fact: I had a headache that day. I could force myself to smile for the camera anyway, but somehow my eyes turned into creepy-wide-open look. I suspect it had something to do with the flash. So I've spared you from being creeped out for the rest of the day.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Here's another little Christmas gift I made. This one was for our precious niece.

Too bad there isn't any perspective in this photo! It's such a cute and tiny little octopus!
That reminds me... I still haven't posted a picture of her blanket. Maybe this week. =)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Candy Cane Masterpiece

This Candy Cane Set was created with Size 11 Seed Beads. It takes a very long time to thread everything. I had a dickens of a time the first night I started because my hands were very dry, and I couldn't manipulate the beads for anything! Grrr. It quickly became much easier by the next couple days.

Size 30 Crochet Thread
Twisted Wire Needle
Size 11/0 Seed Beads (a tube of each color was plenty for us, surprisingly enough)
Size 12 Crochet Hook

For peace of mind, it's best to start by making the bracelet. That way you can just keep going with whatever is left for the necklace. In our case, we were pretty sure we thread more than necessary, so the necklace would just be longer. This is better than having to take off any extra beads because a bracelet is getting too big.

All this boring talk. All you want to see is the finished product! Here they are:

(The bracelet is spread out so it will fit nicely on the display.)

What do you think? I'm pretty sure she was pleased with it. She kept saying, "I was just going to thread a bunch of beads and twist them together!"

Later she added the little charm:
Once again, if you want to try this, it's easiest to start with a larger bead for your first project. And let me know how it turns out!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sisterly Creativity and Crafts

During Christmas, we traveled south to visit with my sister and her family. What a blast!

My sister is the truly creative and crafty one. It's rather sickening. Anyone else have that in your family? The one member that so effortlessly creates masterpieces? Well, the beauty I find in it is that it allows me to try to steal adapt some of her projects and ideas. =D

To make a hilariously long and crafty week summed up, here's what happened. She pulled out some tiny beads and mentioned that she wanted to make a candy cane necklace. She was going to thread them all and then twist them together. I suggested crocheting it like the necklace I made for her last year. Her response: "You MADE that?" Ha ha!! She never knew and had never worn it. We got lots of laughs out of this.

Our projects for the week were quickly determined. We ran out to Hobby Lobby, picked up some Size 30 Crochet Thread, additional beads, and Twisted Wire Needles for threading all those tiny Size 11 beads. Since we knew it would take a while to thread all the tiny beads, we picked up some Size 6 beads for the 'in the meantime' project.

First project completed:
A beautiful Christmas Necklace!

And to add to the disgustingness of her creativity and natural talent, my sister, the non-crocheter, picked this up SO fast, she's already made several of her own and for friends!

So, I'm telling you, try it! You'll love it.

(The Candy Cane Masterpiece will be posted soon...)

This was SO much more fun than working on all the orders for headbands. I had plenty of time to finish those after we got back home.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Knock, Knock...

We recently endured this gem of a Knock Knock Joke.

Son: Knock, knock.
Dad: Who's there?
Son: Banana.
Dad: Banana who?
Son: Knock, knock.
Dad: Who's there?
Son: Banana.
Dad: Banana who?
Son: Knock, knock.
Dad: Who's there?
Son: Banana.
Dad: Banana who?
Son: Knock, knock.
Dad: Who's there?
Son: Banana. Orange. Aren't you glad I didn't say "Banana" again?


It's all in the delivery. Wow. =D

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What will 2012 hold?

Last year I did a 'look-ahead' to the New Year rather than looking back over the past year. I thought I'd do that again, except at first glance, it doesn't seem to be as loaded as 2011 already was by this time!

So what's ahead?

Our 11th Anniversary. I love him dearly.

Soon to be followed by hubby's birthday! I'll still love him dearly...

Trying all kinds of new foods.
Training for and attending a mission trip to a new destination with junior high students.
Planning and implementing a whole new Mystery Dinner for high school students.
Camping trips.
7th birthday (ok, that took a long time to be able to type that. ...excuse me while I go vomit)
Finish 1st Grade and begin 2nd Grade.

What happened in 2011 that I didn't expect? Mouth surgery. Let's hope that never happens again. A new niece! I'm all for that happening again!

I decided to type all this up before looking back at last year's list. Now it's time to go see how they compare.

Happy New Year!