Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tangled party pics and how-to

It's a Tangled party! I'm sure there's some pun involving knitting and the name of the Rapunzel movie, but as my husband and I have had about 3 hours sleep in the past 48 hours in preparation for our daughter's birthday/work/grad school/fixing a lawnmower with a bent blade, I'm all out of puns. And energy. And polysyllabic words.

The invitations were super cute but I'm not posting them because I don't want to share my address. I made long, tall purple rectangles, punched out a square "window," inserted a braid made from embroidery floss and tied with a purple ribbon (anchored with a dab of hot glue) and backed it with plain white card stock. There's a good example on Martha Stewart's website (I don't recommend Martha's punch because it is overpriced and, if you watch the video, even Martha can't get it to work.) I was able to get three invitations printed per letter-sized page. I purchased bright yellow envelopes from Office Max.

I drew Flynn's "Wanted" poster -- if you want to make one, I don't exactly have any tips as I did it freehand. However, the other things are very do-able. The lantern pinata was made by my husband with two balloons, paper mache and colored tissue paper. We filled it with plastic lizards of different colors (like Pascal, the chameleon), rubber ducks for the Snuggly Ducking and "Tangled candy" printed with the images of the movie characters). 

Using the same paper I purchased for the invitations, I made the flags for the bunting and for the "boats" (blue jello for the water and oranges for the boats with toothpicks and paper sails -- reminiscent of the boat Flynn took out on the water to show Rapunzel the floating lanterns). Other food was "pub grub" -- pigs in a blanket (easier than sausage rolls), fruit and cheese -- all served in frying pans ("Who knew, right?") and a basket of apples in case Maximus drops in.

We taped paper to the fence for the kids to paint like Rapunzel and provided palates cut from cereal boxes and topped with washable paints. In the front yard, we used two yellow, plastic tablecloths tied together, wrapped around the trunk and hanging down like Rapunzel's hair.

I unrolled four skeins of cheap, yellow cotton yarn, tied it with purple ribbon and wrapped the banister.  My knitting/crochet friends will be happy to know that yarn will be repurposed into placemats.

The cake was topped with a tower made from cupcakes leveled off and topped with an ice cream cone. There's a wooden skewer going straight through the cupcakes and to the bottom of the cake. If you've seen the movie, you'll know frying pans were Rapunzel's defensive weapon of choice. So the cake was served on "frying pan" plates (black paper plates with black plastic knives glued to the bottom for a handle).

I cut out Pascal heads and glued googly eyes to them and glued them to party blowers -- those were a big hit.

I found super cute party favors at Party City -- tiny watercolor paint sets with a loop at the top. We used yellow ribbon to make them into necklaces -- all the kids loved them. They came 12 to a pack and you could choose regular or ones with Rapunzel printed on to case. All the kids were walking around with them on. Really cute.

Other than the sudden cold front that moved everyone inside after the pinata broke, it all went off without a hitch.  I'm so tired. But I'm really happy. After dinner tonight, my daughter turned to me, unprompted, and said, "Thank you so much for the nice birthday party!" So that's awesome. I'm so lucky to be a mom.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunshine with a chance of Cloudette

A little dirt and sunshine
This is the fastest project I have ever knit. In fact, I finished so quickly, Little Knotty couldn't wait to try it on -- so in this picture, it hasn't yet been blocked (that's why the sleeves are curled under a bit). After this picture was taken, Little Knotty covered herself in dirt. I washed it and it blocked easily overnight.

Little Knotty picked out this yarn herself. The colors are Firefly and Ice Cream, by Spud and Chloe. I think she looks like a little burst of sunshine -- which fits her personality quite well.

Recently, we had some storms come through at night. The thunder and lightening put a bit of a scare into Little Knotty. But I found the perfect book to alleviate her fears: Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld. It's a story about a small cloud who learns to make a big difference. We've read it a few times and, the last time some thunder rolled through, Little Knotty called to her daddy, "It's Cloudette! And her big mommy!" No tears, no worried-face, just smiles. Thank you, Mr. Lichtenheld.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Victorian knitting

Today, I volunteered at the Heritage Farmstead, an old Victorian Farm north of Dallas. It was sheep shearing day at the farm so there were shearers, wool carders, spinners and me -- demonstrating how to knit socks "the old fashioned way" -- or as I like to call it, "knitting socks."My trusty sidekick was with me, charming visitors and waiting for her friends to arrive so they could go on a tractor ride.
On the back porch, demonstrating knitting.

In the old school house
Playing in the back garden while I knit on the porch
Watching sheep shearing
Snack time

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Perfect reaction

This is why nearly all my knitting time goes to projects for this kid -- have you ever seen such a smile? Awesome. After all that work, that's exactly what a knitter wants to see.

The pattern is my take on the Blue Sky Alpacas Eyelet Baby Blanket. As you can see, there are no eyelets (except in the ruffle) and it is quite a bit bigger than a baby blanket -- it's toddler-bed size in fact. BabyKnotty has outgrown all her lovely hand-knitted baby blankets. She proved it to me one day by pulling her blankets up to her chin and urgently stating "See? See?" as she wiggled her calves, ankles and little feet, all of which were quite clearly sticking out in a most un-baby like fashion.

So we bought out all the Manos del Uruguay Maxima from my LYS, and my sister picked up two more skeins for me from a LYS in Austin.

I followed the stitch count for the Blue Sky pattern but used circular US size 11 needles -- this was after a lot of experimenting to see what would make the proper width for a toddler bed. I skipped the eyelets because I remember the discomfort of attempting to keep myself warm with an eyelet blanket while watching Saturday morning cartoons during the early 80s -- back when there were Saturday morning cartoons and I was young enough to want to get up and watch them. The eyelets always left little open circles of chilly, no matter how I twisted the blanket around. I figured if I was going to make a blanket this size, I wanted it to be functional for many chilly mornings for years to come. So no eyelets. And then I just kept knitting the length of the blanket until it reached 51 inches -- toddler bed length. The ruffles were a snap -- so easy and they knit up really quickly. That colorway is Meltaway Mints -- I ended up with one skein plus a little extra. I think it will be a hat and mittens set for her in the fall.

Next up -- a lot of dresses, skirts and tops using Oliver + S patterns, some Lisette dresses and a bag for me and this little dress using Spud and Chloe in firefly and ice cream (yellow and white).

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Knit a Sweater for an Octopus!

Hilarious. Real Zooey's facial expressions as Mary Kate crack me up. By the way, if this was a real show, I would totally watch it every day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Because You Can't Eat Yarn

After what seems like the warmest winter in memory (including my stint in Florida), it is suddenly very freezy here. And rainy and yuck-not-fun-just-miserable-cold.

Mr Knotty decided to start our day cheerfully, despite the no-going-outside disappointment. So he made us these cute heart shaped pancakes. Inspired, I thought some new comfort-like food should be added to the evening's menu. Thus, Minced Beef Wellington.

This recipe was quick, easy and impressive for the amount of vegetables it sneaks in. I used a Jamie Oliver recipe, but my recipe below includes double the amount of veg (which is what I used) since we are feeding a suddenly-vegetable leery toddler. She ate it all up - yum!

Although it takes a while to bake, the prep time was minimal, allowing for plenty of knitting in between knocking it in the oven and serving it up.

Minced Beef Wellington

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, chopped

1 potato, diced

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 onion, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 lb ground beef

2 package (2 sheets) of puff pastry

1 egg

flour for dusting

Combine first 7 ingredients and saute over medium-high heat until soft. Add peas and continue cooking 3 more minutes. Put in a bowl and allow to cool completely.

Beat egg. Add 1/2 of the beaten egg and the beef to the bowl of cooked vegetables. Combine.

On a floured surface, dust top of pastry with flour and roll out to the sized of a kitchen towel. Put the veg/meat mixture lengthwise about and inch away from the edge of pasty. Brush far end of pastry with a bit of the egg. Roll the meat mixture away from you, covering with the pastry, and tucking in the edge of the pastry so the mixture is completely sealed up. Place on a floured baking sheet. Brush remaining egg over wellington. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Slice and serve with gravy.


3 T butter

3 T flour

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup beef broth

Melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour. Add the wine and whisk. Add the broth, whisk and let simmer about 10 minutes until gravy thickens. Serve.