Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

I combined two of my favorite things for dinner tonight, Macaroni and cheese and cupcakes!

I used this recipe from Framed Cooks with a few tweaks. I added a bit of nutmeg to the egg/milk mix along with salt and pepper. I also topped the cupcakes with a slice of Roma tomato and a mixture of melted butter and Panko bread crumbs.

They were fun to make and also fun to eat! If I made them again, I think I'd use Ina Garten's mac and cheese recipe because it's just impossible to beat.

Simple Halloween Banner

If you've read my last couple of posts you may have picked up on the fact that I'm excited for Halloween!! It's one of my favorite holidays and I've been crafting up a storm to celebrate this year.

Here is a very easy project that I made recently. I found plain cardboard banners on sale at the local paper store. I picked up some spooky craft paper and small orange and black ornaments and here's the result...

This project was very quick to make. I used one of the cardboard pieces as a template for cutting the paper. I cut out all of the triangles that I wanted and then hole punched them in the required places.

Next, I organized the layout of the colors and patterns and then used rubber cement to adhere the paper to the cardboard.

Lastly, I strung the whole thing up on a black satin ribbon. I tied on the ornaments and used glue to attach the ribbon to the cardboard. This prevents everything from sliding to the middle.

I considered adding letters to spell "Halloween" or "Trick" on one side and "Treat" on the other. In the end, I was really happy with how it looked without any additions.

Stay tuned for more Halloween posts in the coming weeks!

More Clothespin Crafts

I told you I bought a lot of clothespins right?

I made these from felt, craft glue, a little polyfill, a couple buttons and clothespins of course! I put magnets on one or two of them but I actually think I prefer to just clip them around the house and use them as easy decorations.

Here are some shots of them hanging around the house!

Dress Up Your Clothespins - Tutorial

I purchased about 100 clothespins at the dollar store a while back. I've found all kinds of uses for them - none of which involve actually pinning clothes.

I've been jazzing up the clothespins to make them a bit more decorative and lively. I think these make cute little gifts and are fun to use at the office. They also make handy magnets that are great for holding bills or photos.

These particular clothespins will be given as a Halloween gift!

Here are instructions for dressing up your own clothespins!

Step 1: Collect your supplies. You'll need craft paper, clothespins, craft glue, Glossy Accents and magnets (optional)

Step 2: Measure your clothespin and cut your paper to size.

Step 3: Cover your clothespin with a generous amount of craft glue, make sure it goes to the edges. Place your paper on top and then cover it with something heavy so it dries without any of the corners curling.

Step 4: Once your paper has dried to the clothespin, cover it with Glossy Accents. I've found that it's easiest to do one big stripe down the middle, fill in the sides with 2 smaller stripes and then use the tip of the bottle to smooth out any gaps. Be careful when doing this - you don't want to create bubbles!

The Glossy Accents will appear cloudy until it's completely dry. Put it in a safe place and let it dry overnight.

Once it's dry, you can add a magnet to the back or just keep it as a fun and fancy clothespin!

AARRRGGHHH You Ready for Talk Like a Pirate Day??

Did you know that tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate day?

In celebration of this, one of my favorite annual holidays, I thought I'd share a pirate craft!

I made this for a recent craft swap. My partner told me that she liked pirates and giant squid and since I couldn't pick one or the other to work with as theme, I incorporated both!

I used this skull and cross bones x-stitch pattern and then surrounded it with giant squid that I cut from felt and embroidered on. 

I used this great tutorial for adding a nice back to the hoop so that my messy stitches didn't show.

Avast mateys, enjoy the holiday! 

Shakespeare vs Debbie Bliss

There was once a time when I filled my living room bookcase with works of Shakespeare, Conrad, Plato and Chaucer. But my days of pretending to be an intellectual ended long ago and now all of those books have a not-so-special place in the dusty bottom shelves of less prominent book cases.

These days, the books lucky enough to get a prime spot in the living room are all about, you guessed it, crafts! I have books about how to make zombie amigurumi, how to design and sew mini-quilts, how to make plush monsters, how to make polymer clay candy corn, even how to knit underwear. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't yank 4 or 5 books from the shelf and flip through the pages for inspiration.

I actually counted tonight and I have 94 craft reference books. That doesn't include any books I have out on loan to friends right now or the Blogging for Dummies book (that I should clearly be spending more time with). It also doesn't count the 2 books I just ordered from Amazon. Some might say that I have a problem.

Chicken Really Really Really Little

I'm getting ready to sign-up for a Tiny Amigurumi craft swap and I'm SO excited! I love making miniatures - despite the fact that it cramps my hands and makes my eyes cross.

When I crochet my tiny amis I typically use embroidery floss or tatting thread with a 1.15 or 1.25mm crochet hook.

Here is an example of a miniature chicken I made recently using the Birds of a Feather pattern. The finished size was just over 1/2" tall.

It makes my fingers sore just looking at it again :).

Cozy Knits for Dreary Days

It's that time of year again (already). Dreary weather, wet roads, runny noses and perpetual bad hair-days mark the start of the fall season in Seattle.

I feel like being in my pajamas all day but since most of my life requires attire other than sweatpants and old t-shirts, I'll try to keep myself cozy with plenty of hand-knit goodies instead.

This is a cowl that I finished a while back and gave as a gift. Fortunately I bought an extra skein of yarn so I can make myself one too! I used the Water Diamonds Scarf pattern and my absolute most favorite yarn in the world, Malabrigo.

Here is a shot taken when I was blocking it. I think it shows off the pattern nicely.

Stay cozy!

Losing My Quilting Virginity

I'm working on my second quilt right now. It's going much smoother than my first attempt.

The quilt that's currently in my sewing machine is a gift and I don't want to post it until it's been completed and received. Instead, I thought I'd post some photos of my first quilt!

I made this for a friend's baby. I used the Oh, Frannson! Mixtape pattern. I loved the pattern and the very detailed instructions that came with it.

I AGONIZED over what fabrics to use. I probably spent over 4 hours in various craft shops deciding on the fabrics I wanted to work with. Once I had all of the squares sewn together I decided that I hated the colors and prints I chose. But thanks to the supportive online crafting community, I kept going.

I had a very hard time with the actual quilting process. When I was in the thick of it I swore to myself that I would never make another quilt. Can you spot the giant glass of white wine in this picture? That's the only thing that got me through.

By the time it was all over I was very happy with the result and glad that I had stuck it out.

I'm enjoying the process so much more the second time around!

Sock-O-Saurus Rex

I've always loved classic sock monkeys made from Rockford Red Heel socks. Does anyone actually wear these things or are they only used for making goofy stuffed monkeys?

Recently I've been experimenting with other types of socks and sewing techniques to create special critters. There are tons of great books available for inspiration. Stray Sock Sewing is one of my favorites so I thought I'd share a project I made from the book!

Meet, Sock-O-Saurus Rex! RAWR!

He's made from 2 rainbow toe socks, 3 navy dress socks, 3 white athletic socks and about 20 hours of sore sewing fingers.

I love the way his mouth turned out. He's all teeth!!

Hand-Made Gift Giving

I love giving hand-made gifts. I love receiving hand-made gifts. Gifts gifts gifts presents gifts presents yay!!

Since I'm feeling particularly excited about hand-made presents tonight, I thought I'd share a couple of patterns that make wonderful gifts! Both of these are quick, easy and inexpensive so make up an excuse to give them! Perhaps your friends would appreciate a Happy Thursday present? Or Congratulations on Your New Sheets gift? Or a Thanks for Mowing the Lawn present??

First up, these wrist warmers from the book, Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I love this book but would argue that the title is false advertising. To make both of them usually takes me around 8 - 10 hours so don't wait until the "last minute". I add an extra 16 rows to the pattern as written for extra length.

I've probably made at least 20 pairs of these as gifts over the years.

Here is a pair I made for a recent Craftster swap...

There are very few humans on this planet that don't appreciate a good bag. I stumbled across this pattern for a simple pleated shoulder bag by Ali Foster about a year ago and since then have made at least 8 as gifts. The pattern is so quick and simple and if you're careful about cutting, you can make this with as little as half a yard of fabric (for the outside). The best part is picking out a fabric that you know your friend will like!

Here are a few that I've made recently...

Thanks for looking! I'm heading off to make a Sorry You Stubbed your Toe gift.