Sadly, this blog is a bit sleepier than I'd like these days. Pop over here if you'd like to know why.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies aka The Perfect Cookie

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin

Let me tell you... on Friday I baked the perfect cookie. Previously, these cookies were good. But this time, seriously, I'm talking perfection.

These are the cookies I sometimes send to a friend in the mail when I want to brighten her day, and have her brighten mine by telling me how good they are. Because, they are good. Is there any uncertainty about how good I think these cookies are?

Before these cookies have always been a bit too dry and crumbly. I always figured it was because it was a non-vegan recipe that I veganized. I'd just add a bit extra water each time and work with it. This time... oh this time, I finally figured it out. On top of performing all other miracles, soy has proved itself the key ingredient. Instead of splashing in a dash of water, I splashed in a dash of vanilla soymilk. The result? Cookies slightly crunchy on the ouside, nice and chewy on the inside. Even my roommate who doesn't like raisins felt the cookie itself was good enough to painstakingly remove each raisin as she went, in order to not lose any of the cookie-goodness.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Two Items of Delight

So... this post doesn't really fit my theme of "handmade" ... but the discovery of both were just too exciting to not pass on.

1. Watching the monitor today at my favorite local credit union, I noticed a blurb for this site. Hello, you can say "No!" to unsolicited credit card offers! I was so excited I grabbed a pen and wrote down the address on my receipt. Online you can opt out for 5 years, or you can print a form to opt out for life. I did the 5 year plan, opting out with both my mailing and permanent address.

2. The t-shirts at TippiTappi. Normally I don't like slogan blaring shirts, and even some of these are too much for me, but I love this little one. (It says, "Love birds, don't eat them.)

I had to take a little break from veg-lit for a while... Honestly, although I find it inspiring, it gets quite depressing to know you are making earth and animal unfriendly choices everyday.

And now I'm going to finish my pair of socks with yarn I'm sure Peta would not approve of.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Le Slouch Trois

Remember that trade I mentioned that resulted in my new lovely masthead? Well here's what Julia received in return.

When you knit the same pattern three times, you sorta start to get good at it! This hat flew off the needles. Once again, credit must go to Wendy at KnitandTonic for her wonderful pattern. Love it!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Neck Warmer I Knit in December

Way back in January I mentioned a few surprise projects. I think all have been revealed except for this one... that I knit in December. The trouble was connecting with the friend the surprise was for. Last night, it finally happened. Too bad she will get minimal use out of it seeing as it's 3 months later and practically Spring. Oh well. Here it is.

Neck Hug

And when you fold it up...

Neck Hug

The pattern is from Dogged.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Mast Head

Introducing my new, beautiful, custom designed masthead!

My lovely friend Julia and I engineered a swap. I contributed some handmade goodness, she contributed my new masthead.

I love it to bits. Notice the little bees in the corners? Perfect.

Her site is still in the works, but you can check her out here.

My First Sock (Heel)

Originally uploaded by pilliebee

Last week at sock knitting class we tackled the heel. It was a bit of a crazy night... the instructor, Lisa, is fabulous. She was running around grouping and regrouping us to get everyone enough support. Plus, she stayed late with my group to get us to the proper stopping point so we'd be prepared for our homework.

Discoveries made during class:
1. The heel isn't really that bad.

Especially when you have an instructor to walk you through it and classmates' work to compare.

2. I've been twisting my purl stitches!

What? I was always concerned about my knit stitches, got that worked out awhile ago. Purling was so off my radar. It took a K1 S1, P pattern to finally bring it to light. I had some really neat spirals going down my heel. Apparently, knitting this way is the preferred technique in the Middle East. It's like the time I spontaneously started to pronounce French words in the Quebecqois style to the shock (and amusement) of my French teacher.

Tomorrow night we do the toe!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hey Julia...

Cascade 220 - green
Originally uploaded by pilliebee

...can you guess what this will soon become?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wall Art

I seem to be one of those people who never know what to put up on the walls. Usually I decide to forget any planning, and just start sticking stuff up there... trying not to worry if items go together or even look good. For my new bedroom (new as in August '07), I didn't stray from the plan.

Way back when I was inspired by, surprise surprise, How About Orange and this tutorial for a fabric wall panel. Who wouldn't want to cover large portions of their wall in one big swoop? And the idea is it's a cheap project, right? Not if you fall in love with Japanese fabric from this shop. I actually made this in November... but the whole absence of sunlight in my bedroom was an issue until today.

Tree Wall Art 2

So that wall was pretty well off, but I still had another. Finding other internet/craft store inspiration, I made another large piece to cover a large space. And this one was actually cheap. It's four canvases painted pink and a piece of scrapbook paper modge-podged in the middle. My only irritant is the bubbles that would not smooth out. Oh well.

Tree Wall Art 1

Are you noticing the tree theme? I could justify my love of trees with a few cute anecdotes, but I won't. I just like trees, ok? See how these two big pieces of wall art aren't horrible next to each other? It's a good thing I didn't give it much thought.

Tree Wall Art 3

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My First Sock (Cuff)

Originally uploaded by pilliebee

So last week was a horrendous week. Luckily, it also included two huge highlights. One, a children's literature conference (blogged here), and the other..."Knit Your Socks Off!"

The benefit for working at a community college is FREE classes. I can take any class I want, assuming there's an empty spot, for zero dollars. I was on the edge of my seat all last week waiting to see if the last spot in the newly offered sock knitting class would fill. It finally did... by me!

I was a little nervous having never had any "formal" lessons. Apparently I cast on strangely, (the instructor wants to watch me do it), but otherwise... I was ahead of the game. Of course, that wasn't a huge surprise considering most of the students had just learned to knit a few weeks before... but still. I was kinda proud that I got my ribbing going so quickly and was able to get quite a bit done during class.

This week... we turn the heel! Excited.