i baked some cookies this week. i found some simple and easy recipes.

first, russian tea cakes:

i added too much walnuts, but i didn't mind. i like that they're not too sweet and fall apart in the mouth. next time, i'll roll them into smaller bite-sized balls.

next, chocolate crinkles:

before baking:

after baking:

they're so pretty! they're also soft, chewy, and delicious.



hat with earflaps

it's winter; knitting season. last year, my dad and i saw some guys on the street wearing knitted hats with mohawks; it was so cool! i think he wanted one. and so did i.

i looked it up. knit head sells such hats, at $100+. that's too much for me. alternately, i can buy their book for less and make it myself. but nothing beats free: there are some online previews of the book, and the free pages show how to make the hat. their method consists of knitting the two sides pieces, then sewing them together with a centre seam.

then, i found this pattern:
and it's even better because it is knitted as one piece and seems simpler.

as an inexperienced knitter, i used some cheap yarn for my prototype: bernat supervalue (100% acrylic) in dark burgundy.

since i used 4.5mm needles and single worsted yarn (instead of 6mm needles and double worsted or bulky yarn), i had to make some modifications.

earflaps: (make 2)

cast on 3 sts
row 1: p
row 2: sl1, m1, k1, m1, k1 (5 sts)
row 3: sl1, p to end
row 4: sl1, m1, k3, m1, k1 (7 sts)
row 5: sl1, p to end
row 22: sl1, m1, k21, m1, k1 (25 sts)
row 23: sl1, p to end
row 24: sl1, k to end
row 25: sl1, p to end
row 26: sl1, k to end
row 27: sl1, p to end

the hat:

with one earflap, knit across the 25 sts on circular needle.

cast on 27 sts with backward loop. knit across other earflap. cast on 19 sts with backward loop. join in round.

knit in round until the hat measures 7.5-8 inches from the bottom of the earflap, then begin decrease:
round 1: k14, k2tog, repeat to end
round 2: k
round 3: k13, k2tog, repeat to end
round 4: k
round 23: k3, k2tog, repeat to end
round 24: k2tog to bind off, repeat to end


pick up 3 sts from bottom of earflap.

knit 12 inches (approx. 70 rows), hiding the loose ends inside (trim loose ends after 15th row).

since i was using acrylic which doesn't felt, i omitted the mohawk part.

i ended up with this:

different view:

the fit is good, except the earflaps feel a bit too long on my face. for dad, the cap should be longer, with shorter earflaps as well.

overall, this was an easy project. i'll need to get some nice wool. i'll try to get some bulky weight. i should also get the suggested 6mm needles. i found out that there is a yarn shop at a 20-minute walk from my home.


baking with apples

i was in a baking mood today. after my last not-so-good attempt, i decided to go for a previously successful recipe: apple muffins. this time, no icing. i also baked a bit longer, so the top edge is slightly crispy, exactly the way i like it.

i also tried an apple loaf recipe:

i overbaked the loaf a little; there's a thick crust now. next time, i should bake for 50 mins. it tastes good. i was a bit too liberal with the butter, so it feels a bit heavy.


bisquick apple pie

i went apple picking with my friends last weekend. now, i've got a bunch of cortland and macintosh apples.

the next day, i was making pancakes with bisquick, and i saw a recipe on the box for "impossibly easy french apple pie". so i tried it out.

eh. it turned out kind of soggy. kind of underbaked too. maybe my sliced apples were too watery. it tastes good. but the soggy texture in the mouth ruins everything.

it was definitely easy to make. but the results are meh.


fancy party dress

for a friend's birthday party, the theme was to dress up. it was the perfect occasion to make a new dress.

i re-used a pattern that was bought previously to make my convocation dress, mccall's 5881. this time, i went for view a, a halter dress with a contrast band.

in mom's sewing closet, i found a floral pattern fabric. for the contrast band, i used some burgundy-coloured fabric. i also found an invisible zipper of the same colour. i'm glad i didn't have to buy any supplies for this dress.

the pattern size 4 fit me, except the bodice was too tight. i wonder if it's because i did not follow the grain of the interfacing; after ironing, the bodice pieces seemed to have shrunk. my mom was able to alter the bodice front by playing with the seam allowances. but i had to re-cut the bodice back, adding 1 inch on the top and bottom edge, when the pattern piece was placed on the fold (so an addition of 2 inches total, on each edge). this means that the contrast band had to be lengthened (by about 3 inches, just to be safe).

when putting the skirt pieces together, we realized that the dress fit so much better when we switched the front side and back side pieces. not sure if this is a mistake in the pattern, or if my body is shaped weird or something.

anyway, it took my mom two nights to make this dress (since we had to re-do the bodice, and it took us a while to figure out that the front and back side pieces should be switched). by the end of the second night, when i tried it on, i found that the top of the bodice was too loose. now i know that i should have altered the bodice back piece to add half-inch to the top edge, and 1 inch to the bottom edge. but there was no time to make these alterations that night. in a 'make it work' moment, my mom sewed an elastic along the top edge of the bodice, which resulted in some unwanted shirring. fortunately, the contrast band along the top edge hid most of this.

the party ended up being a lot of fun. at least the dress was held together. some day, when my mom will have some free time, she'll have to rip apart the bodice, and remake it to have it fit me properly.

[photo to come, maybe.]


knitted scarf

remember the knitting kit i got as a gift? i was bored, so i knitted the scarf earlier this week:

the scarf is 10cm wide, 290cm long. it used up 3 x 50g balls of yarn (90% acrylic, 10% nylon). knitted with 8mm needles, the stitches are loose and the scarf is stretchy.

detail on the pattern:

cast on 14 stitches.
1st row: (right side), knit.
2nd row: purl 2, knit 2, repeat until end of row.
repeat last two rows until end.

this was very easy to make.


gift from friends

this weekend, my friends and i had peruvian food at puca puca. the food was delicious, the portion was generous, and the price was good.

for my birthday, my friends got me some crafty stuff:

i am pretty excited about the 'easy baking' book. i've already bookmarked a few recipes to try out.

as for the knitting supplies, i haven't decided what to make yet. i've no need for any new winter gear (scarf, mitten, tuque), so i think i'll save the yarn for some other project.

and of course, the hmv gift card will provide me with some new music.

apple bars

i still have apples left from the apple picking activity of over a month ago...

i tried another easy recipe:

a piece:

it's soft and slightly moist, the consistency of muffins.


pointy kitty

i had found this pointy kitty pattern a long time ago:
but i never had a reason to make it.

recently, my mom got a puppy. finally, i can make her a toy!

in my mom's fabric closet, i found some stretch velour, in beige colour. when cutting the pieces, i thought this fabric may be hard to work with. but when sewing, i realized that this fabric was a good choice: the stretch meant that i had some play when two pieces did not match up perfectly, and the fuzz of the velour hid my imperfect stitching.

since i do not have a sewing machine myself, i sewed the whole thing by hand. it was simple enough that it only took a couple of hours. i used some pink felt for the stripes. and since i was lazy, i left the kitty faceless.

it's so cute.

my dad is concerned that the fabric does not seem tough enough. the puppy will surely destroy the toy. but that's okay. it'll give me a reason to make more.


apple cupcakes with maple buttercream

another mix-and-bake experiment with apples.

i found a simple cupcake recipe:

i halved the cupcake recipe to make only a dozen. i didn't have any nutmeg, so i omitted it from the mix. i mixed everything by hand, so the butter+sugar mix was probably not as 'pale and fluffy' as it should have been. oh well.


i had to bake a bit longer than instructed; the bottom of the cupcakes had seemed undercooked when i first took them out of the oven.

before baking:

after baking:

i found a very simple maple buttercream recipe:

again, i halved the recipe since i doubted that i would need 2 cups of frosting. still, it ended up being too much for only 12 cupcakes. i had to use an electric mixer to get the right texture.

it was my first time trying to use a piping bag. i did a poor frosting job; it looks so sad:

the cupcakes turned out soft and moist, which i like. the buttercream was a bit too sweet for my taste, which is why i didn't load the cupcakes with too much of it. still edible though.