I certainly have been baking a lot recently, haven’t I? This is a reminder to myself that this blog is called KNIT York City not Bake-lyn (super cute name though!) so I can’t just be telling everybody about my kitchen adventures. I promise I’ll figure out how to balance my blog out.
So let’s talk knitting for a moment. You remember that frog I was working on. Well, he’s done (pictures soon, I promise). And I finished a slew of other animals in the meantime. And I did it all in one weekend. Not too shabby. Not to toot my own horn but beep beep. Anyway, I’m going to show you one of his buddies.
This pattern is Tavistock Tortoise and it was designed by Amanda Berry. She sells her patterns on Ravelry or Etsy. I think all of her critters are adorable and I’ve bought a few of her patterns. They’re so cute! Just as with the frog, I knit everything in the round because I hate sewing up the seams. And why put yourself through the trouble when you have to?
I think this is my new way of photographing my works in progress. I like them all laid out like this so I can see all of the parts and you can see how they look before they’re an animal. It’s inspired by Things Organized Neatly which inspires me to clean out my purse every time I look at it.
I knit the version of Berry’s tortoise pattern with the long-style legs but I added about 5 rows to the back legs and 3 to the front to make them extra long. I think they’re really adorable. And he reminds me of this scene from Finding Nemo.
He’s knit with some of that tried and true LB Collection Angora Merino in Avocado on size 4 needles. I also used some LB Collection Superwash Merino in Mahogany on the shell. That gave it a different texture that I really like. I think it will be cool for the baby to feel smooth and fluffy next to eachother. It makes me think of those books I read when I was a kid that had a bunny and its tail was made of a piece of cotton that was pasted into the book. And the basketball was made of leather. You know?
I’m really happy with how this little guy came out. I can’t wait for you to see the rest of them. Now, I’ve made so many stuffed animals! I think it’s time to take a break and make some gloves.
To start making my own beef jerky and dried fruits in this dehydrator.
To have the kitchen in this house!
To bake with this super cute sparkle spatula!
To stop myself from buying this lamé skirt (it’s on sale!)
To find a perfect color combination of these yarns.
To share this amazing video with everyone I can.
Also, that’s a photo of the sugar cookies my little cousin decorated for Christmas. Gingerbread french macarons that I made are so lame in comparison.
And! I have this cool new way to comment via Facebook. Look below and you can ‘like’ this and all of my other posts!
So I’ve got a week or so of involuntary time off from my full time job (they didn’t fire me!) which means it’s time to stop splurging. Luckily, I’ve been trained by the master. And you can take some tips, too. My good friend B is sharing her tips for living on a low income and looking fabulous while doing it. She’s always been a great ear and never leaving the house without a bottle of Three Buck Chuck helps too.
Her blog is Brooklyn Bitches on a Budget. She’s got great recipes, fun DIY, amazing bargain hunting, and neighborhood guides to cheap eats and hip stuff to do on a dime. This is a must for New York ladies and budget-bound bitches everywhere.
Happy New Years, internet! Hope we’ve all shaken off our 2010 hangovers.
New Years means champagne, of course! So I popped a bottle to make these desserts. If you’ve got an occasion to pop a bottle soon (bridal shower? birthday party? Tuesday night?), these are a really fun way to cook with a little bubbly.
I adapted a recipe from Allrecipes and halved it.
Champagne cupcakes with Sweet Champagne Buttercream (recipe follows)
Yeilds 10 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup pink champagne
3 egg whites
(I’d like to try it again with 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. The champagne alone wasn’t sweet enough!)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line your cupcake pan. I used little foil cups. New Years is all about sparkle.
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. I use my stand mixer which I am in love with. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add to the creamed mixture. I went about 1/4 of a cup at a time, alternating with the champagne.
If you’re using a stand mixer like me, you’re going to have to transfer your mixture into another bowl because you’re going to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. This was a bit of a pain in the ass for me because it meant transferring everything, washing the mixer’s bowl and then mixing the eggs (at medium and then on high). And then washing the bowl again…
At this point, your mixed ingredients don’t look like cupcake batter. Mine was thick, almost like a cookie dough but! after the eggs have reached a stiff peak, fold them into the batter. This makes all the difference and after a few minutes of aggressive folding, my batter became smooth and shiny.
Pour the batter into the cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Don’t forget to rotate them if you have a tricky oven like me!
Sweet Champagne Buttercream adapted this recipe at Gimme Some Oven!
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (might try almond next time)
a splash of Champagne
Start by creaming your butter and confectioners sugar. I was really patient and it turned out beautiful and smooth.
Then add the vanilla and champagne. I added more to taste. And I guess because I was having a glass myself, why not add more! Be careful, though, you could thin the icing too far with too much liquid.
I iced them and added some black glitter. The glitter was kind of on a whim because I had some left over from Halloween macarons but I think New Years Eve in New York City is all about black glitter.
I took a little trip to Lion Brand Studio (wow I really can’t stay away from the place) to stock up on some baby toy supplies. Of course, that meant buying some more angora merino yarn. Since I’ve been knitting with this yarn so much recently, I wanted to post this video I found about sheering angora rabbits for spinning. My mom is a spinner and she’s always wanted angora rabbits. Maybe someday her dream will come true!
ps. At the Lion Brand Studio, one of the women told me that the angora merino is hard to rip out. She heard that if you put it in the freezer, it makes it easier to do so. Has anyone else heard of or tried this method? I wonder who thought it up…
Rabbit photo by Angoria.
I spent the weekend working up this frog for a baby shower present. I’m using an Oliver Boliver pattern and mine is certainly interesting! He’s made of Lion Brand’s LB Collection Angora Merino which, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned, is my favorite yarn for baby toys right now. It’s so soft and fluffy. The color is Avocado which is such a yummy name for a yarn color.
I adjusted the pattern and knit each piece in the round on size 7 double pointed needles. I like the way it looks because my seams always look crappy. Overall, I like how he’s turning out. I’ve only made toys using patterns by Ysolda which I really enjoy because you don’t have to sew any of the arms or legs, etc onto each other. This was a leap of faith but I really like how it’s going.
He just needs eyes and a little smile and it’ll be time for another blog update!
Christmas time has come and gone. I was excited to start blogging up a storm about the adorable Xmas I was planning but my forgetfulness got the better of me and I left my computer charger in Manhattan!
Disappointed as I am, here are some of the homemade presents I made for Christmas. Of course, I’m all about homemade gifts. They’re fun to make, they’re inexpensive, they’re really appreciated, and they usually impress people. This gift was inspired by a lot of time surfing on Etsy and this recipe by Baked Bree.
I started by buying a dozen quart-sized mason jars. This was probably the most exciting part of the gift because I found out that my local hometown hardware store sells them. And at $13 a dozen, I don’t think I’ll be buying them from the chic baking store in Manhattan anymore. (Apparently it’s common knowledge that hardware stores carry mason jars, I was surprised. Maybe I’m out of the loop.)
Anyway, Bree’s recipe is really beautiful. You should check out how her jars came out. They call for:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup Heath Chips
which I layered in order in the jars. The rest of the recipe is on her blog.
I also used a recipe for Butterscotch Chip cookies which starts with a jar layered with this:
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup rice cereal
On the recipe tag, I wrote out all of the jar’s ingredients along with the wet ingredients which are:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Empty the contents of the jar into a large mixing bowl and add the wet ingredients.
2. Mix until completely blended.
3. Roll into walnut-sized balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
That’s a picture of the finished product amid the Christmas mess. I went to the Christmas Tree Shop (which I have to say, is one of my least favorite places to shop) and bought two 10×10″ festive fabric napkins for only a dollar. The napkins were my mom’s idea. She knows how to innovate like no one else. I really like the snowflakes on these because they’re a little more secular and still beautiful (read: red and green plaid didn’t make it).
I cut each napkin into quarters and trimmed the hem off. It left me with a little bit of a rugged edge but I liked the home-made look. I wrote up the recipe cards with festive colors on a plain index card. I would have liked to have done a more decorative card but time kept me using white ones and swiftly-dying markers. After punching a hole in the recipe card and gift tag, I put a rubber band around the fabric to hold it onto the jar and tied everything together with a piece of shiny red yarn (hooray for stash-busting, even if only a few yards).
I made one for everyone in my family. It’s a fun gift because it’s everything you need for a lazy day-after-xmas cookie baking kind of day. I have a feeling it’ll make a great gift for other occasions, too. And I’ve got a bunch of extra mason jars so we’ll see what happens with those!
What adorable gifts did you make? Or bake!
Last week I was so excited to see one of my best friends’ open studios. Kristen’s work this fall has been all about tea parties. She’s got a really cool concept and, of course, I love the idea of painting gooey cinnamon buns!
I’m so proud of Kristen and I cannot wait to see what she’ll have in the spring! Go look at her work here!
It’s been a busy busy week. I’m very excited because I think this will be the most creative Christmas ever. Before I can reveal any of my presents, I’ll just have to write this blog post to Santa. Want!
To make these charming little cupcakes.
To pack everything with this sweet tape!
To be able to afford almost 4,000 yards of Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn for an afghan. (Feel free to donate :p)
To pick up crewel embroidery again.