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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beaded Bracelets

Too often we get stuck doing the same thing over & over. I've only crocheted with yarn -- and usually wool yarn at that. Lately I've been consciously deciding to try new things. I came across a picture for beaded bracelets and decided I needed to figure it out. A few mistakes later & this is what I've come up with.
These will soon be in my Etsy shop.
These are crocheted with a very small hook in variegated embroidery floss using glass beads. The stitches are tiny and delicate.

They've inspired me to keep trying new things. I'm thinking about hemp bracelets with larger beads. I've also seen aloe yarn out there, maybe I'll try it. Who knows where this well take me....

What has inspired you lately? Trying anything new?

Happy crafting!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Devilish Eggs Recipe

I've never been a fan of deviled eggs. I don't care for yolks, so the idea of eating mashed up yolks with salt, pepper, mustard and mayo is not at all appealing to me. I was in my 20s when I finally ate a deviled egg and that's because my BFF's mother made the most delicious deviled eggs. Her secret? Piccalilli!

If you've never made deviled eggs with relish or piccalilli, you don't know what you're missing! I made some for my niece's party, so let's walk through the steps....

The ingredients:

Not pictured: white vinegar (b/c I always forget about it until it's time to add it) and a jar of roasted peppers and onions (b/c I didn't know I was going to use it.)
  • hard boiled eggs
  • ground mustard
  • mayo
  • prepared mustard
  • Tabasco  (optional -- my family LOVES it!)
  • fresh thyme
  • piccalilli (or substitute)
  • vinegar
  • salt & pepper
I always have trouble with hard boiled eggs. The eggs are perfect, but the shells stick to the whites making
     1. a mess
     2. yucky looking eggs
I learned the best trick for fool-proof hard boiled eggs from my mother, who learned it from her father. Let the eggs sit out overnight then, after they're boiled, shake the pot to crack the eggs & THEN fill with cold water. The cold water gets under the shells and helps to separate the membrane from the egg white. They peel like a dream! Since I always have trouble with eggs cracking in the water, I add a pinch of salt and that also works every time. I bring the water to a boil (with the eggs in it) and then turn off the burner, put the lid on and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. At the risk of repeating myself -- it works every time!

My store didn't have piccalilli (it's hit and miss) so I substituted sweet salad cubes, which were pretty similar. Since I wanted more peppers in mine, I also added some roasted peppers and onions from a jar (we'll call this piccalilli.) Any filling like this will be too big to pipe and will be very wet when added to the egg yolks. We'll remedy that by draining the piccalilli and then chopping it.

Of course you can chop yours by hand, but I always use a the chopper attachment of my stick blender. It's so much faster and makes very uniform pieces.

While the piccalilli is draining, mash the egg yolks and add the dry ingredients.

Rough chop a bit of fresh time and reserve some leaves to top the finished deviled eggs.
My favorite knife -- it's a vegetable knife with a really big blade from Cutco.
The rest of the ingredients are very wet, so I suggest adding one at a time, in order of flavor importance, and leaving the mayo until last. This ensures the filling isn't too runny. First, add a bit of vinegar. You can use any kind you like, I use plain old distilled white vinegar. Next add a glob of prepared mustard (I used Guldens) and then the piccalilli. If you're concerned that you'll have too much, only add half and taste before adding more. I ended up using about 3/4 of the batch I chopped.

Lastly add the mayo. As you can see, I used only a little bit -- just enough to make a smoother filling. Mix and taste. Then you're ready to fill.

 Another trick I learned from my mother, I use a disposable bag with a pastry tip fitted into the corner. Clip the corner and...instant pastry bag. I then place the bag, tip-down, into a glass so I can fill it. It makes filling so much easier. Now all that's left is to pipe the filling into the bag.

Sorry for the fuzzy picture. It's hard to pipe and shoot at the same time.
Top each egg with a reserved thyme leaf and you're ready to go.

Picnic ready!
Personally, I don't use a recipe when making deviled eggs. I like to taste as I go and stop when they taste good. With that said, I've taken a stab at a recipe below:

Devilish Eggs
  • one dozen hard boiled eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • generous pinch of salt
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 5 drops of Tabasco
  • 1/2 cup piccalilli or substitute
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme (with leaves reserved for garnish) or 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1-1.5 Tablespoon mayo
Cut boiled eggs in half, separating yolks from whites. Mash yolks and stir in dry mustard, salt and pepper. Add Tabasco and stir.

Drain piccalilli to remove as much moisture as possible. Finely chop piccalilli and add to yolks. Rough chop fresh thyme reserving some leaves for garnish. Add to yolks and stir. Add vinegar and mustard and stir. Add just enough mayo to make a smooth filling, but make sure it's not runny -- 1 Tablespoon should be enough.

Mix and fill egg halves. Garnish with reserved thyme leaves.


Hope you enjoy the recipe. Happy Memorial Day from Cherishables!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Evolution of a Purse

After making the summer granny square purse for myself (btw, it's done but I don't like the handles so I'm making new ones -- pics coming soon) and really liking it, I thought it would be fun to try the same pattern but in a more planned color palette.

So I made this purse as secret gift for my Mom and now that Mother's Day has passed, I can blog about it.

The idea behind this purse was to make something a little more planned. I'm still totally in love with all the white & thought it would be pretty if each square had just one color, so I made squares with a white center & border and a single round of color.

For this purse I wanted to line the squares in diagonals. I drew it up so I know how many of each square I needed:

If only I knew what I was doing.  <sigh> The purse body isfine. I totally messed up the side and bottom gussets. I really don't know what I did wrong on paper, but once I had the purse together I saw my mistake.

You see, the squares were supposed to wrap around the purse and continue the pattern on the sides & bottom. But when I got it together, I messed it up...
Side view: the top square should be yellow & the middle should be green. I have no idea what the bottom one should be.  <shrug>
As the designer, I'm pretty much the only person who know that it's wrong, however, so I continued on. I finished the purse by crocheting around the top for a few rows and then skipping a bunch of stitches (while making a chain) to create a handle. A few more rows around (including stitches into the chain to make a more substantial handle) I then made a little pleat on each side and sewed it in place. Then it was off to be lined.

I lined the purse in a cherry blossom fabric with pockets on both purse walls. Since you can see through the purse, the lining has two fabrics -- cherry blossoms on the inside and plain white on the outside. Between the layers is a light interfacing.

Unlike a lot of linings I made, this lining is pieced together -- there are separate pieces for the two side gussets and the bottom. This allowed me to use a much thicker interfacing on the bottom which helps give the purse structure and a nice sturdy bottom. The purse can stand up on its own.

Despite my design flaws, I think the purse came out great. I'm really pleased with it and Mom likes it -- which is really the only opinion that matters. As long as Mom's happy, I'm happy!

I hope the last few posts have encouraged you to try a granny square. They're quite fun and make a lovely summer purse.

Happy crafting!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Summer Granny Square Purse 4 - Lining

Betcha think I forgot about this purse, eh? Not quite, just a bit lazy these past few days.
I cut out all the lining pieces and the interfacing a week ago. I even ironed the interfacing to the fabric. For some reason I just didn't feel like sewing it all together.

Well, I finally got around to that today. The lining is done! It's all sewn, the pockets are in & it's ready to be attached to the purse.
Why yes, those *are* Truffula Trees. 
This lining is a little more involved than the ones I've been making. For one, the two sides and bottom are reinforced with sewn-in plastic canvas. For another, the entire lining and pockets are lined with interfacing. For three, I lined and interfaced the handles as well.
Lining the handles was kind of a pain, but it will be worth it.

All that's left is to sew the lining on & attach the handles. My summer purse is almost done! I can't believe I'll have this done before the summer. Now off to finish a few more!
What are you working on this weekend?

Happy crafting!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Making Jewelry

I've been wanting to try crochet jewelry for a while now. I've made couple of bracelets from yarn and I like the look. The interwebs are pull of pictures and instructions to make jewelry crocheted with wire and beads. I had to try!

So, off I went to pick up supplies from my local craft store. Of course, I bought the wrong gauge wire, but it's close enough.

Here's my first attempt, which is made with brown round and oblong beads (I have no idea what the "real" name is for these types of beads. We'll have to go with "oblong").
This is based on a pattern that was sent to me. I'm sorry I don't know who designed it. If you recognize it, please let me know so I can give it a proper credit & link back to the designer.
First mistake, I used 26 gauge wire when I should've used 28. Now I know! But 28 gauge was all I had on hand, so I continued to make more bracelets.

This one is with a mix of round beads called "champagne mix." I wish they made champagne in these colors!

Lastly, I made another with the brown beads but this time added a small bird's nest charm I made.
This one came out a little big. That's what I get for winging it!

Speaking of bird's nests and wings, as you can see I also tried my hand at making a bird's nest.

These pendants are all over the interwebs and I just love them! I bought one from an Etsy seller about a year ago and promptly lost it before I could even wear it for a day. So careless of me! I've been wanting a new one ever since and when I found a tutorial on how to make them, I had to give it a shot.

Here's my first ever bird's nest pendant. I used a ruler for scale.
Follow this tutorial by Sarah Ortega to make your own.
It's not perfect, but I'm quite happy with it and you know what they say. Practice makes perfect! Well, unless it's the 2nd one I made which didn't come out at all like a bird's nest.

I really like it, though. I think it looks neat and it's the one I'm wearing today. Sometimes we make happy mistakes.

I'm really enjoying making jewelry. It's nice to learn new skills. Plus, I'm sure the ladies in my family will be very happy to get something different for Christmas this year!

How about you? Have you tried crocheting with wire? What about beads in general? Do you use them? Let me know in the comments.

Happy crafting!