Tag Archives: Books

Getting Ready

Status

Betty is still under repair, but hopefully this week. Parts have been going back into her and she looks a lot better.  I look forward to having a functional sewing machine, however. 😛

I picked up a couple of interesting books at Goodwill the other day:

How to Design Your Own Clothes and Make Your Own Patterns by Claudia Ein seems it’ll be an awesome reference.  It’s a bit older but it seems to me it’s filled with solid principles.  The other text is Sew Smart with Wovens, Knits, and Ultrasuede Fabric by Judy Lawrence and Clotilde.  The illustrated techniques within teach broader skills (like French seams) and I think it will come in handy.

I’m anxious to get sewing again, but at the same time, I’m a bit worried I’m going to be terrible at it.  It’s been a very long time.  So I’m breathing deep and letting myself start over.  While I wait for my machine I’m reading and gathering resources (fabrics, threads, etc.).

Quick Cookie Post

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I took some quick snapshots (using my old camera) of the cookies I took to a friend’s Thanksgiving party.  (I made pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, too, but totally forgot to photograph them.  They were good, but very rich!)  Please forgive the first blurry pic – I didn’t realize how bad a pic it was until the, um, evidence was gone. 😉

These are The Best and Easiest Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe found at VegWeb.com.  This is a very simple recipe, and I think that I’m going to try to make it xGFx (gluten-free) soon – should be easy as the recipe only calls for half a cup of flour as it is.

Gotta run – need to sort out lunch supplies for this coming school week – my latest crochet projects will have to wait until later I suppose.

Have a great Sunday!

Yum!

Adventures in Mistakes [NaBloPoMo]

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Looks like I’d better get on the ball if I’m going to get this post in today, for NaBloPoMo. o.0 Whew. I wanted inspiration to write more, but ZOMG, ya know?

I’ve been crocheting like mad – working on different projects, trying to improve my technique and also really enjoying learning to *make* things!  I’ve got some mistakes and tribulations to share, as well as some really basic FOs, but not today, methinks – thought I’d stick to showing you a couple of hats.

Firstly, I should mention I mostly taught myself to crochet with the Klutz Learn to Crochet kit book.   I love that book – it’s the one I kept referring to when I was trying to sort out the basic stitches – lots of good pics and good descriptions. *However* I never really groked the front loop, back loop, both loops thing and I pretty much taught myself using just the front loop.  I’m sure you can imagine what my (newbie) projects all look like.  o.0

When I got Crochet the Complete Guide the first thing I started working on was the Basic Single Crochet Hat pattern.  However, I knew I wasn’t going to have enough yarn (part of a skein of Caron’s Simply Soft Eco in Ocean), so I didn’t make the hat anywhere near as long as it should have been.  Also, since all my stitches went into the front loop, the texture came up very differently than Ms. Davis intended.  Still, my Eldest seemed pleased enough:

Eldest Approves

A couple more silly pics of said hat and boy:

Eldest Approves

Eldest Approves

Hopefully I didn’t crop these too small for you to  see the ribbed effect my stitches gave the hat. Ah well, I learned something, and it’s warm, and he seems happy enough with it, so it’s all good, yes?

Anyhoo, I was reading The Complete Guide when I came across a note about how, unless specified, the hook always goes through both loops.  Whoo-boy.  After an educational spin around YouTube (Lots of good crochet how-to videos there!) I took a couple of minutes to oh, roll my eyes and sigh dramatically, but then I took to working on new projects that involved really basic stitches.  One of them was a rework on this same pattern using Peaches & Creme Shaded Denim worsted weight. (have a big cone of it I got for $3 bucks @ Wally-World).  Things went swimmingly for a while:

Hat in Progress

About 5 steps after this, however, I crocheted half a row just in the front stitch.  It looked *really* wonky, so I frogged it back to the mistake and promptly lost track of my increases.  I have *no* idea how I should have recovered from this – it was really hard work counting all those stitches and looking for increases.  If anyone has advice on this I’m all ears!

I eventually decided to salvage what I had done, quit making increases, and just finished the hat off for Youngest Son.  It’s not perfect, but I think it turned out well enough, and YS is pleased:

YS and Hat

See you tomorrow!

Birthday Goodies, Part Deux… [NaBloPoMo]

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To continue…assuming anyone’s reading this somewhat self-indulgent display of received gifts. ^_-

Just like last year I got a gift certificate from my folks to Amazon, and also just like last year I spent a couple of weeks deciding what I wanted.  Totally skipped anything practical this year (I’d feel guilty, but due to a family emergency I’d already cashed a birthday check for quick survival money.  :P) and ordered a slew of crochet and cooking related books for myself.  Well – almost nothing practical.  I spent *some* money ordering replacement rechargeable batteries – my beloved-but-unobservant husband threw them away in a dumpster whilst taking photos at a client’s site – he hadn’t realized they were in the camera! o.0

Soo – what did I get?

Crochet Goodies

Crochet Book Goodies

Hooked Scarves: 20 Easy Crochet Projects by Margaret Hubert (she has a blog here).  I also bagged onto another of her books, Hooked Throws: 20 Easy Crochet Projects.  These look like fun patterns, and I look forward to trying them out, though I guess I’m looking at a lot of veganizing yarn choices for a lot of them.  Also, it took me paging through the throw book to really grok how much yarn a throw/afghan takes. o.0 Yowza.

I also picked up a highly-reviewed out of print book – The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crochet Projects Illustrated by Marcy Smith.  It’s got some really different patterns in it, and lovely clear pictures on how to do basic stitches, etc, but most of the projects don’t really catch my interest.  Also – there are lots of projects with things like felting, etc, which really won’t work for me as a vegan crocheter.  So, while it’s a fun addition to my library and I will undoubtedly use it, I probably wouldn’t get it if I had it to do over again.

Crochet:  The Complete GuideOn the other sauce, under the category of Completely AwesomeSauce – I picked up a copy of Crochet the Complete Guide.  This is an AmaZing book – I highly recommend it – basic practical stuff at the beginning, plus lots of stitch references and some basic patterns in the back.  This is going to be a book I use FreQuently – do check it out, whether you’re a noob like me or a master crocheter – I really think you’ll like it!!

My final crochet-related gift was the Boye Beginners Crochet Kit, which I bought for  the kit goodies, really, and not the book.  The basic instructions are great in this book, but I’d be *very* careful if I ordered it from a Seller on Amazon, etc.  The copy I got that was supposed to be “new” was the older pattern guide from the 80’s and not the newer one.  Frankly, however, it was too much hassle to complain. 😛  Like I said, glad to have picked up the hooks and stitch markers, ‘though the latter are a bit hard to use in my clumsy fingers.

Anyhoo, moving on to some happier Book Goodness:

Vegan Cookbooks

Vegan Cookbooks

These two have been on my want list forever, and it seemed like a good opportunity to pick ’em up, especially as I *do* need to feed my peeps everyday.  Well, I guess My Sweet Vegan is more of an indulgence, but there are good recipes for things like French toast, rolls, muffins and the like.  However, I will own up and share that as I had all the ingredients, I made Orange Dreamsicle Snack Cake first.  (I’ll post about that another time, as this post is starting to draw on, and I *did* sign up for NaBloPoMo for November. o.0  Gotta have *something* to post about all those days….)  ANYhoo – if you’d like to know more about Hannah Kaminsky, check out her blog, BitterSweet.  She’s got some fun free crochet  and knit patterns there, in addition to lovely recipes and just good food blogging.

Last but not least, I picked up Vegan BrunchIsa Chandra Moskowitz‘s latest.  If you’ve not tried ’em – her cookbooks are the bomb – I highly recommend them.  My only grouse is sometimes the ingredients are hard to find – she’s lived in the NYC area most of her life (now Portland, OR), so her perspective on what’s easy to find is a bit skewed. ^_-  It looks fab – lots of yummy stuff in there.  I’ve not had a chance to make anything other than banana flapjacks, but those were insanely good – didn’t even manage pics before they disappeared!

This was a fab haul!  Thanks Mom & Dad – much love!!!!

Birthday Goodies – A Belated Post… (Part One)

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This is über late – my birthday is the seventh of this lovely month – but I decided to share my goodies in a couple of posts.  Firstly, I decided to give proper props to my kids by giving them their own post, as they each contributed lots of loveliness to my day! ^_^

My Youngest made a large, sweet production about a Kiss on the Cheek.  An absolutely fab present if I do say so, myself.

Youngest Son

Youngest Son (Pardon the lack of shirt. It's a phase, lol.)

Middle Son gave me pin money from his very tightly cared for (hoarded? 😉 ) savings stash and basically said, go to Goodwill, look for yarn, knock yourself out.  So I did.  Couldn’t find any yarn, but I did find these three things, between the Goodwill and another local thrift store (benefiting Haven House)*:

Middle Son's Pressies

A small but lovely stash!  First is the Mere Poulard cookie tin from Mont Saint-Michel.  Found that at Haven House for 99 cents.  Pleased as punch with this, as it perfectly fits all my little crochet needles and notions.  You can’t beat a French biscuit tin for that, I figure. ^_-Biscuit Tin

I also splurged on a little remnant of Holly Hobby quilted fabric.  Mom made me a bathrobe out of the same print when I was little.  I’m hoping, if I can get my sewing machine sorted out, to make something from it, even though it’s an odd little leftover.  It’s in fabulous shape, though.

My final gift from Middle Son was a gently used copy of Peace is Every Step, by Thich Nhat Hanh.  I have been wanting a copy of this book for ages and was delighted to find it at a really cake_mania2good price at Goodwill.  Used is recycled, which is great!

And last, but certainly not least, my Eldest urged me to download Cake Mania 2 for my birthday and funded said venture.  If you’ve not played it, think Tetris with cake, though it’s nowhere near as epic as Tetris, of course.  Several years ago I bought the original and played it entirely too much until I won.  I’ve yet to get anywhere close to that with this one, which is good on a variety of levels. ^_-  Hopefully that means I’m being more productive, haha!

I couldn’t be more thrilled – thanks boys! ^_^

*We have a third one, benefiting Caring and Sharing, which I love to support.  Good organization, great volunteers, important mission!  I just don’t often make it there during the right hours.

On my way!

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Woot!  I went ahead and ordered some goodies at Amazon.  My sweet folks sent me a gift certificate for my birthday, and after a lot of back and forth, I decided to spend some of it on something other than bulk food.  (Hey – our budget is tight. :P)

So, anyway, I got a killer deal on some olive oil, bought a renewable coffee filter (WHY can’t I find one around here?) and also Renee Loux‘s latest book, which is a great resource for folks trying to live greener lives – read part of it while visiting with my folks.  But then I got Stitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook and Stitch ‘N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker which both seem like not-so-serious fun.  I also got Knitting: Learn to Knit Six Great Projects and Crochet: Learn to Crochet Six Great Project, both by Klutz. Yeah, I know those are kids’ kits, but they come with some basic supplies and get really good ratings for explaining things. And this way I’ll have some yarn and needles right away, which is good for da budget.  I know I have at least part of a crochet hook kit around here somewhere, but who knows where. o.0

Now to figure out where to get more (vegan) yarn to play with.