Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Hat For A Baby Skull (And A Crystal Skull)

I have been with my husbot for almost 11 years now.  What the WHAT??  That's what I think every time I realize it's been that long.  He's the best - the BEST of the BEST, the best AROUND - and I'm grateful to have such a kick-ass loverpot of a best friend and man friend.


You know, 11 years is a long time.  These days, I derive great pleasure from living vicariously as various friends find a spark and fall in love.  And when the person they find is also hip and groovy, it's even better.

So, my very good longtime friend - who in fact performed our wedding ceremony - has fallen in love.  Hooray for him!  And his lady friend is a smart and groovy lady.  So, hooray for me, too!  I can always use more grooviness in my life.

Anyway, slowly segueing into the subject of this particular blog entry, this particular groovy lady - my new friend Gianine! - asked me to knit up some fun for a friend's soon-to-be baby.

Well, chilly weather is swift approaching, so what does a brand-new lady baby need?  How's about a fuzzy pink deerstalker?  Yes.  That's exactly what a lady baby needs.  Modeled below by my crystal skull. 

Sidenote about the skull:  So a couple of years ago, remember when Damien Hirst caused a stir in the press for covering a human skull with diamonds with an asking price of $100 million?  Well, it both fascinated and infuriated me, so I decided to make one myself.  One trip to the craft store for a Halloween styrofoam skull and $50 worth of plastic crystals later, I succeeded.  Mine's 10,000% cheaper and has a gold tooth.  So there.

Anyway, back to the hat.  That damn hat was so cute, I wanted to eat it.  The only thing that would make it better is a pair of matching boots.   So, I had no choice but to make those, too.

Husby gives the whole thing a big thumb's up.

This ensemble has been shipped off to Gianine (minus Crystal Skull, sorry, Gianine), but not before I spent about an hour dancing the boots around under the skull and singing the "Invisible Baby With A Crystal Skull" theme song.


Mercury-Free Sushi

Despite my small town, Republican, God-fearing, beef-eating, conservative Midwestern upbringing, I knew from an early age that I was - in fact - none of those things myself.

Besides turning into a lefty, commie pinko,  and a raging feminist with a healthy skepticism of the big business of religion and an ally for gay rights, here's the final insult to my Kansas pedigree:

I effing love sushi.  I cannot get enough of it. 


Additionally, sushi is one of my favorite things to knit.  It's beautiful and simple and instantly recognizable.

This is a tuna sushi/sashimi set that I did for my lovely friend Heather to give as a get well gift to one of her friends.

Above is the way I packaged it for shipping.  It's a little hard to see through the plastic lid, but I added a couple of pieces of pickled ginger and a dollop of green wasabi on the side.

I'm getting hungry now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Knits For Naps

I got a message from a childhood friend the other day asking if I would make a cover for her kindergartener's nap mat.  Now, as long as I have enough information, I'll knit anything I can figure out how to knit.  I'm knit-fearless. 

But, I'm a childless woman (cue: sad violins) and while I can imagine or perhaps even recollect what a "nap mat" is, I actually had never heard of a cover for a nap mat.  However, with a little sizing info from my friend on the particular mat that her son uses, we decided to do a sort of duvet cover style sleeve for the mat.

She hoped for something super-snuggly and therefore nap-inducing.  My favorite snuggly yarn is the lumpy-bumpy homespun variety.  And after a quick trip to my local Michaels, with the babe's favorite colors committed to memory, I was able to whip up this little number.

Not bad considering it's the first one that I have ever made, huh?

So, it got shipped off to its new home in Oklahoma, and upon it's arrival, this happened:

And my friend told me that her older son declared that he wished he was back in kindergarten so that he could have one to nap on.  How's that for a ringing endorsement?

And in closing, I'll leave you with this photo of Nappy the Naptime Nap Mat Cover cuddling up with his new little man.  They make a cute couple, don't they?

Knitting for Little Heads

Jeezy Chreezy.  I feel like a bad blogger.  I should be posting more.  I'm trying, I'm trying.

Here's the thing(s):  I went on vacation, got really sick, had a really heartbreaking friendship breakup, and then struggled for a little bit to climb out of the K-hole that the aforementioned things left me in.

Any Swayze, I'm back!  I'm knitting!  I'm blogging!  Hooray!

I've got a metric crap-ton of commissions that I'm working on right now - as well as a few special freebies that I am cramming into the mix, so rest assured, my fingers are busy....even if I'm not busy blogging about how busy I am.  

Por ejemplo - Below is my sweet-faced friend Eleanor.  I mean...just look at her.  What a little beauty.  And, for the record, the smartest 8 year old I've ever met.  Her favorite color used to be purple, but when she told me that it's now green, I couldn't resist knitting her a little brain warmer for the upcoming chillier months.

Okay, that's all I got for now.  I'll be back soon, though.  I promise this time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Knitting For A Rock Star, Part 2

Remember yesterday when I  blogged about making some hats for the lovely rock and roll icon Jane Wiedlin?

Well, feast your eyes on Jane's lovely pixie head in very close proximity to my knits.

Seriously.  This woman.  I cannot get enough of her.

I want to bite her sweet little face.

Lots of love to Jane for sending me these super adorbsy photos.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fuel For Sick Crafters (And The People Who Love Them)

Oh, it's good to be home.  To see The Wizard sleeping in the sunny windowsill.  To be surrounded by all my stuff.  It's real nice.  Especially when I'm sick.  I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure, but being sick when you're away from home, away from your stuff and your creature comforts is no bueno.

And on my first day back in my little part of the world, I'm making the thing that I always want when I'm sick - pho (Note:  It's not pronounced "foe," but rather the same way you pronounce The Mother Of All Bad Words but then stop just short of bringing it on home).  If you're not familiar with it, pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup.  It's got a rich, flavorful broth and noodles and vegetables and fragrant herbs.  It's comforting and satisfying, and it takes care of you like a warm blanket when you're sick.  It's an alternate version of chicken noodle soup.

Traditionally, pho is made with beef stock, and you can get it in Vietnamese restaurants all around.  But me and my boo are vegetarians, so that doesn't quite work for us.

So right now, I'm going to break with crafting blogging for a minute to share with you the recipe that my sweet man found for vegetarian pho.  I'd link it back to the source, but I don't know where he got it.  All I know is anytime either of us is sick, the other person's job is to make this soup for them.

Here it is, straight out of the well-worn page of our homemade cookbook of favorite recipes.


Broth ingredients:

1 small unpeeled onion, quartered
2 unpeeled shallots, halved
8 unpeeled garlic cloves, halved
1 one inch piece of ginger root, unpeeled, coarsely chopped
2 three inch cinnamon sticks
2 pods star anise
4 cloves
8 cups  vegetable stock
3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

Soup ingredients:

1 lb. rice noodles
8 oz. extra firm tofu, diced into small cubes
6 scallions, thinly sliced
a good handful of each of the following fresh chopped herbs:  mint, basil and cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 cup each of the following fresh vegetables:  broccoli (cut into small florets), snow peas, carrots (sliced into rounds), cauliflower (cut into small florets)
jalapeno, sliced thin - optional and amount adjusted to your heat preference
Sriracha chili paste - optional (but recommended) Asian spicy condiment

To make the broth, heat a large pot of medium-high heat.  Add onion, shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves.  Dry roast in the pot, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to char.  Add the vegetable stock and soy sauce or tamari and bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover.  Simmer for 25 minutes, then strain the broth back into pot and discard the solid vegetables.  Keep broth warm over low heat.

While the broth simmers, preheat oven to 350.  Bake tofu cubes on a greased or sprayed baking sheet, checking and turning tofu every 10 or 15 minutes until cubes are golden and slightly crispy.   Set aside.

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions - usually by pouring boiling water in a bowl over noodles and allowing to soften for 10 minutes.

Steam broccoli, snow peas, carrots and cauliflower for approx. 2 minutes, so that they are slightly tender but still have some firmness.

When you are ready to assemble your soup, put a pile of rice noodles in the bottom of each bowl, add your steamed vegetables, tofu, herbs, scallions and jalapeno, and then ladle hot both over the top.  Serve with sriracha chili paste and lime wedges.

Repeat as necessary until you feel better.

Knitting For A Rock Star

Hello lovers.  I'm back.

I took a little vacation and saw some amazing friends, and met some amazing tiny people that have been made since last I saw my friends, and got really really sick, and tried to push through it and have a good time, and now I am exhausted and convalescing back in my tiny Harlem apartment.

Ooh, boy.  A lot has happened since I last blogged a blog for you blog readers.  Mama's worn out, you guys.  But since I'm holed up plying myself with fluids, it seems like a good time to go through my archives for some more of my favorite knits.

On that note, a few of my favorite things are food and hats.  Knitted or otherwise.  Not necessarily in that order, and not necessarily in combination.  However, I was delighted - delighted! - when my friend Jane Wiedlin (yes, that Jane Wiedlin) asked me to make her a sushi hat and a bacon and eggs hat.

Here's how that turned out.

And just for kicks, and to solve the problem of what to do with the sushi brooch I'd previously made, I threw in an extra sushi hat for good measure.