[cue polka music]

It’s been unseasonably chilly here the past while.  I wore sweaters to work twice last week, and it’s the last part of May.  This is the Northern hemisphere, and I expect warm spring days, darn it!

Can I will the nice weather to show itself by sewing a summery skirt?

(Modeled by the always-lovely Dolores.)

I made this using Simplicity 5564, View E (or F?).  I’ve attempted this pattern a few times in the past with varying degrees of success, but this is the first time I’ve ever managed to get the waistband right.  In the past, I tried the waistband and then decided “Forget this!” and simply folded over the top of my skirt “tube” to make a casing for some elastic.  Besides the easy on-and-off factor that comes with an elastic waist, leaving the waistband off makes the skirt shorter and more flattering; as it is, it’s just a touch matronly looking – but still cute, and suitable for the office.  Or maybe I just need to grow another couple of inches.

The fabric is a lovely, stretchy knit that I fell in love with at Fabricland, and which instantly brought to mind this pattern.

Now I just need sunny days and warm breezes…

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…c-o-l-a, cola…

This week’s baking endeavour was inspired by The Brown Eyed Baker, and her recipe for Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes.  My take on this is a somewhat modified version of her recipe; besides the no-eggs thing, whipped topping doesn’t really lend itself well to storing completed cupcakes, so I made a maraschino cherry juice-laced buttercream frosting to help carry the cherry theme through.

They turned out well, meaning that my beta test group is still alive and walking around – and technically, they’re fine; everything a cupcake should be – but I’m somewhat disappointed by the lack of Coke flavour, considering there’s Coke in both the cake batter and a light glaze underneath the frosting that served only to make my cooling racks and kitchen table sticky.

I suppose Coca-Cola syrup, the kind they use for fountain drinks, might provide a more concentrated flavour, or cola extract, if such a thing exists; however, if I do something like these again, I could see making my basic chocolate cupcake recipe instead and turning them into bona fide Black Forest cupcakes.  But…as a sweet dessert, they’re perfectly acceptable.

Happy Victoria Day, everyone!

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 13, 2012

This year has been a far cry from last year’s adding French knots and framing on Sunday morning.  For once, I actually came prepared for Mother’s Day.

Besides the towel that I posted last weekend, I stitched up a little card for Mumsie:

It was a free kit that came with a recent issue of Cross Stitcher magazine.  The kit included googly eyes that looked freaky-deaky (the mama koala looked merely surprised; the baby looked like a strung-out Keane kid), so I added French knots to give a somewhat more natural look.

And you can’t have Mother’s Day without dessert, can you?

This is a variation on the raw strawberry cheesecake from The Post Punk Kitchen.  I made the filling as per the recipe, but used the vanilla cookie crumb crust from Vegan Pie in the Sky instead.  I’m not normally a cheesecake fan, but this wasn’t bad – light and mousse-ish, with a nice strawberry flavour.

The cake, incidentally, made a lovely finish to our breakfast of cocoa-Kahlua pancakes from Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites.  Dense and chewy, they were like eating brownies for breakfast.  Yum!

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

I shake de tree.

May 5, 2012

Sshhhh!  This is a top-secret sneak preview of a little something I whipped up for Mother’s Day, so think of this as an advance screening.

You may recall that a couple of years ago I embroidered a Swedish Chef towel for my mother’s birthday.  He still gets a lot of use, but it’s seemed to me that he could use a companion towel – most of our other tea towels come in pairs, except for the poor, lonely Chef.  So, bork-bork-bork, I decided to embroider the squirrel design from Sublime Stitching’s Forest Friends pack.

At this point, you’re probably questioning the connection.  Why not another Muppet, or something more kitchen-y?  Well, it all started like this: the very first episode of The Muppet Show that I remember seeing was the one guest-starring John Denver, with a camping theme.  In this one, the Swedish Chef has traded his kitchen for a little set-up in the woods, and has decided to make squirrel stew.  I can’t do it justice; just watch the video.

Now that it all makes a little more sense, on with the towel:

Here it is, posing on the oven door.

A better view of the stitching.  It’s done mostly in stem stitch with the little tufty fur bits in backstitch, and a hint of satin stitch to keep it interesting.

I also got some baking done!  (Although this is not for Mother’s Day.)  Behold, the Applesauce-Oat Bran Muffins from Veganomicon:

Truly, I have no future with the Muppets, as I didn’t haphazardly fling a single ingredient while making these.  🙂