Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two at once felted slippers

Tired of slippers yet? :P
Having knit five pairs of grey slippers I had leftover yarn in five different shades of grey. Knitting a pair for myself seemed a logical thing to do! Knitting both slippers at the same time was an elegant solution to the problem of potentially running out of yarn so the second slipper wouldn't look the same as the first. It was a bit tricky at first, but when I got the hang of it it was just a matter of keeping the strands from getting in a big tangle and everything else worked like a charm.
As for all these slippers, the inside is fascinating... I can't quite decide which I like better. The inside also shows much better that two threads of different grey shades are used at the same time.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Knitter's gift tags/washing labels

Every knitted gift I gave this christmas had one of these gift tags enclosed. I wrote washing instructions on the back as well as a little info on the yarn or anything else that could be useful to know. It also serves as a way of bringing in my personal stamp, that's always fun. But most importantly, they are the excuse I needed to make some of these awesome tiny yarn ball embellishments! You could even look at this as an elegant way of including extra yarn for emergency repairs.
I've done one of these before, ages ago, on a birthday card for avid knitter Olaug. And ever since, I've been looking for an occation to do it again! The idea and tutorial comes from the Craft blog. I did one for each gift, using the corresponding yarn or yarns. As an added bonus, you can even look at this as an elegant way of including extra yarn for emergency repairs! The yarn is wound around a piece of cardboard that's glued to the tag, and the knitting needles are cocktail sticks with beads glued on. The DP is a thick double-sided one from Panduro (from the same stack as my gift tags). I gave the edges a little colour using shimmering chalk in matching colours.
As you might see from the colours here, there are still a few of these gifts that haven't been posted yet... Just thought I'd show you something other than felted slippers today. ;)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Grey slippers for Marianne

This is a pair of slippers that became too small to fit into the size and colour coordinated set I made for our cabin, and became a christmas gift for my cousin instead. She has described some truly ice cold mornings on their ground floor this winter... Hopefully these will help. ;)
Just as the others, the inside is funky and cool while the outside is smooth and soft. The slippers are reversible and she can choose freely which side she prefers!

Monday, December 27, 2010

24/52: Chillin' it

It was the laziest christmas ever.
And I so deserved it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Felted slippers set

I've made felted slippers as christmas gifts before, and this year I've knit up a whole bunch of a new variety! It all started when my mother asked for a set of thinner felted slippers for our cabin, and I started the hunt for a suitable recipe. Having tested this DROPS recipe I decided that the recipe was rubbish but the yarn/needle combination brilliant. So I went ahead with the yarn and used the recipe that these ordinary socks are made with and it worked great! It was just a matter of adjusting the stitch count a little according to the measurements I took before and after felting of the first test pair.
Instead of ending with ribbing as the socks do, the slippers end just above the ankle, with a short cuff with a split in the front. The cuff can be worn folded up or down as desired.
This set consists of four slippers in different sizes. The darkest pair are the largest, and they become smaller as the colour lightens. Every pair is knit from grey DROPS Alpaca, two different shades of grey at once for each pair. Blending two colours brings a little colour variety and life to what could otherwise be a solid block of grey.
As an added bonus, the slippers are fully reversible. The inside reveals a really funky, chunky structure that some may prefer over the smooth outside - I know I think it's really cool. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ice decorations

I've actually posted these once before, but thought they deserved a new look. We've had stable, low temperatures for a quite a while now and they have decorated my veranda for a couple of weeks already. They have become something of a winter tradition of mine. I used to be able to make snow lanterns, but that's a bit tricky when all I have is a veranda... These are a brilliant replacement tradition!
The original idea came from Margie at Resurrection Fern, who used lace doilies for her decorations. I had some crochet snowflakes lying in a drawer and used those.
Once you've got your crochet snowflakes or doilies, soak them through with water and place in a round container with a flat bottom. Leave a string outside the container so you have something to hang them from. Place containers outside and fill with enough water to cover the snowflakes, about a cm or two should do it. Remember that water expands when freezing, so make sure that your containers kan take the strain. Most plastics or metals should work - just make sure to avoid the fine china. ;)
Let the container sit outside overnight and display your new ornaments! If they melt you can just refreeze them as soon as the temperatures drop.
-I'm taking a blogging break for the holidays, but don't worry! As I'm writing this I've already got 14 posts pre-scheduled, so there should be enough happening here anyway. ;) All those christmas gifts can finally be revealed... Merry christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homemade Bounty

Having made our traditional peppermint pralines last week, there was lots of the shredded coconut stuff left. This happens every year. I once found a bag of coconut I had first used three years before. Honestly! Then and there I vowed to find a recipe that would help me get rid of these leftovers.
Last year I made some Bounty chocolates using this Cut Out + Keep recipe, but the amounts were totally off, and you'll see in the comments that many had the same opinion. Way too much butter, not enough powdered sugar. Luckily I had tasted as I went along (well, that's half the joy of baking, right??) and added what I needed to make them taste good. And trust me, they were very good. :P This year I thought I'd go about it a little more carefully and write up a better recipe. I measured and added ingredients until the texture and taste felt right and added it all up in the end. There are other variations out there, but most require double cream or condensed milk, and I like the simplicity of this recipe.
The amounts have been rounded off, and adjusted so you can use a whole bag of shredded coconut (250g). I had about half that left this year, and I still got about 40 bite-sized pieces, so this recipe is quite large. I think I'll stick to half amounts of everything in the future too. The picture above is from last year, when I made them in a size more similar to the original Bounty chocolate. If you do them that big, I think you'll get about 25 bars from this recipe. That's a lot of Bounty! (I'm trying very hard to avvoid the cheezy bounty-ful jokes here folks. Help me out.)
Quick, before I say something too stupid: Let's get right down to the (huge) recipe!
250g shredded coconut (the dry, unsweetned stuff, sometimes called dessicated coconut)
170g butter (at room tempererature)
400g powdered sugar
500g chocolate
Mix together coconut, butter and powdered sugar well using a fork. This takes a bit of effort, and the mixture will seem way too dry at first. Keep working on it for a couple of minutes and it should suddenly come together to a firm, but sticky mass. Press toghether to form a sheet about a cm in thickness - I just do this by hand on a piece of parchment paper on my kitchen counter. Place in fridge for an hour or so, until completely firm. Cut into pieces of desired size - a sharp, hot knife will make this easy. Melt chocolate (temper if you like), cover coconut pieces. Place on plate covered with non-stick paper and let cool completely. Store in fridge.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas card mass production

Silly me sold all my christmas cards... Whoops! The money was just a little too tempting... :P And I figured that I could always just make some more. But when I lit the third advent candle I suddenly felt like time was running away from me and quickly decided on a simple design that could be easily mass produced. The lovely bauble is from the Penny Black Brushstroke series and is embossed with white glittery embossing powder. The sentiment says something like "Good wishes for christmas and the new year". I added some lines with a white pen, and a piece of red baker's twine.
Here's the full layout! Front page, in white glittery embossing, the reverse side with a snowflake background in glittery watermark ink and my personal stamp in white, and the simple inside with two large snowflakes in white ink. I wrote my message with a white pen. Merry christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

23/52: Whiteout

It got worse, much worse, as day became night.
I figured a taxi would cost less than a tow truck.
Best decision I made all week.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas traditions: peppermint pralines

There are a few traditions that never change, this is one of ours. There is no christmas without these peppermint pralines! I have to be careful not to make them too early or they will mysteriously disappear long before the big day. They look a little like snowballs, don't you think, even if the dark chocolate shines through?
I distinctly remember stiff shoulders and aching arm muscles after stirring this mixture, and complaining to my mother that these took ages to get done. I must have been very young then, because although you have to expect to spend some time with these because of the several steps involved, it's a breeze compared to my childhood memories. Thankfully. ;)
1 dl milk
1 large teaspoon flour
500 g powdered sugar
6-8 drops of peppermint oil (food grade)
300 g dark chocolate
ca 150 g shredded coconut
Combine milk and flour and bring to a boil. Let cool. Stir in powdered sugar, a little at the time. Add the peppermint oil somewhere on the way - it's easier to stir it in before the mixture becomes too thick. Add more powdered sugar if needed. The consistency should be such that you can roll little balls of it with your hands. Do so, and let them cool in the fridge for a few hours until properly stiff. Melt chocolate and pour shredded coconut in separate bowls. Using forks or other suitable tools, dip each praline first in chocolate, then roll in coconut and let cool completely in fridge. Store in fridge.
I have no idea how long these can keep - because they never last very long in my fridge anyway... ;)

Friday, December 17, 2010

More gift tags

Since my mother ended up with all the gift tags I made last weekend, I've made another batch for myself in a similar style. These will do for a while, and I'll just whip up more as I need them. They are so quick and easy to make! My mother's button box had a few treasures, but most of these buttons come from my own, rather boring, collection.
I couldn't resist giving these a spray of Glimmermist Old Lace for some shine. The edges are inked with DistressInk Vintage Photo.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New on my needles - breezy baby blanket

As if I don't have enough knitting projects lined up, I've started a baby blanket for a coming June baby... This one knits up in no time, so it shouldn't be much of a problem to get it done long before June, even with everything else I have on my plate. Love the yarn (DROPS Merino Extra Fine) and the pattern too (Pickles Breezy baby blanket, also in Norwegian)! Details on my Ravelry page as usual.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas gift tags

Who hasn't enjoyed a deep dive into grandma's or mama's button box? ;) I got a chance to do just that this weekend, and made these easy gift tags with the treasures I found. The DP is thick, double-sided cardstock from Panduro. I cut them into tags with my Cuttlebug and tied the buttons to it using red baker's twine. The most time-consuming part was to get my oversized baker's twine through the tiny button holes!
Kitchy and cool, just look at that clear button... ;)
Some more earthy, traditional buttons give the tag a completely different look.
They make a nice little set! My mother scooped these up right away, so I think there will be more button treasure hunts in my near future... :P

Monday, December 13, 2010

22/52: Ugly Mountain looking pretty

As the pink morning sun fell on Ugly Mountain
(yes, that is its official name)
I decided that 13 degrees below zero
was no reason to stay inside after all.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just-for-fun time-lapse video!

It's been a long time since I did a time-lapse video, and one morning the beautiful weather inspired me to have another go at it. It's a simple set-up of my Canon camera and Texas Instruments calculator, and there's an easy tutorial on Instructables on how to write the calculator program that commands your camera to take a picture at your desired interval. It also gives some hints to the recommended camera settings. The images in this video were taken at just under four second intervals and stitched together in MonkeyJam. There's quite a lot more snow now, but Blogger has categorically refused to upload any and all videos lately. I'm crossing my fingers that this one actually works... I won't believe it until I see it posted!

So some time I really have to get around to making a time-lapse of something more interesting. I've had a few ideas, and have actually made a time-lapse video of a friend's wedding ceremony, but otherwise neglected the concept despite loving the many time-lapse videos out there. Also, I need to learn to add sound, and probably how to embed the video from YouTube. I'm getting tired with Blogger's lousy video uploader...

If you want to have a look at the set-up you can check out my first time-lapse post. That video shows a very similar view, but it was shot over a longer time span, as darkness fell and the green houses lit up. Have I mentioned that I love the view from my appartment? :) Its' so cozy and inviting - green in the summer and glowing in the winter. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas traditions: advent calendar

Not much activity here on this little blog lately... I'm making christmas gift by the dozen - and, for understandable reasons, I want to keep them secret for now. Expect lots and lots of posts after christmas! ;) Thank you all for visiting, even if I don't have much new to show you yet!
But I'd like to give you something to look at while you wait. Those of you who have been here for a year or more have seen this before, but a little rerun isn't all that bad, is it? ;) Last year I made an advent calendar and shared the pages throughout December, and I've really been looking forward to bringing the calendar out on display this year too. I scrapped one 12"x12" page for each day - and I'd like to show you some of my favourites. If you like what you see, here's the link to the whole set of posts, where there are detail photos, material lists and more general info on each page.
December 4th, one of the few pages with flowers. I could go on and on about that DP, it's so gorgeous...
A simpler, two-tone layout, with a poem that starts out so pretty and cute, and ends in a naughty surprise. ;)
After a little digging in my parent's albums I found this photo of myself as St.a Lucia at six years of age. I cleaned it up and made this layout about bringing light into the darkness.
Ok, so there wasn't that much snow, it was just absolutely everywhere... My poor car was just spraypainted with the stuff. Sometimes you should just stay inside.
A clean, simple layout with one lovely picture. I need a change from the embellishment overload sometimes, and this one does the trick.
-Ahem... Did I say embellishment overload?? ;) Well, sometimes more is more. I also like this one for its quote about the "little spark of madness".

Nearly christmas! This layout is among the last, and echoes the first page and its focus on time.
So if you'd like to see more, feel free to have a look at the whole set.

Monday, December 6, 2010

21/52: Bring it on

Bring it on, I'm ready. In fact, I'm excited!
All I ask for are safe roads.
Click here for more info on my Project 52.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas card #5, A star is shining this night

This line from a Norwegian christmas song (one of our modern classics), "A star is shining this night", seems to be the perfect match to this cute image. I've coloured the girls using Prismas as usual. The blue dress is easy, but I have precious few red colours in my kit, and had to use some white and 20% Frech Grey for the highlights. No more red dresses. ;) Some shimmering chalks create the soft background.