Show and Tell Ceramics II

“”Flower” small serving bowls.

This semester, my Ceramics instructor challenged us to make a set of small bowls that fit together around a center, chalice-shaped bowl, all resting on a plate. It really was a challenge! It took almost the whole ten classes to make, with a lot of mess-ups. My instructor said, “It’s all about the process.” When we’d had a particularly frustrating throwing day, the other students and I would remind each other to slow down and concentrate.

Hon, doesn’t “It’s all about the process” apply to so many things? That’s why I love my wise instructor and the patience Pottery teaches.

Closer look at bowls that fit together. Imagine them filled with different candies. You know I’m all about the sweets!

Unglazed outside of a bowl made with marbled clay.

Another marbled clay bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bowl with visible “throwing rings.”

 

DIY Wedding Decorations, Food and Drinks (Part 3)

A table set with love.

Head Table

Linh and Dan didn’t sit much, but their table was set with His and Hers wine glasses, votive candles and an array of succulents, ranunculus and roses. Dusty green, pink, peach and ivory were carried through the centerpieces and decorations.

Toast the newlyweds.

How great is this bottle cork heart? It sat by the bar where a sign (below) featured a drink called the “Berry Marry Sangria” and said, “Eat, Drink and Be Married.”

Centerpieces.

The centerpieces were creative and lovely. Tables were wet with stacked books, clustered corks, votive candles, and mason jars of succulents, ranunculus, roses and hydrangeas.  This place setting would be beautiful at a brunch, engagement party, bridal party or–think picture books–a baby shower.

Opaque bottles decorated the dessert table.

Lots of “Love” to go around.

 

 

 

 

 

Birds and a birdcage are sweet accessories.

Wedding cake.

I’m guessing the wooden perch that the cut-out birds are resting had stakes to stand inside the cake.

Happy party planning, hon.

Related Posts:

DIY Wedding Decorations, Ceremony (Part 1)

DIY Wedding Decoration, Cocktail Hour (Part 2)

 

DIY Wedding Decorations, Cocktail Hour (Part 2)

Welcome-to-the-Celebration-Table

Wedding Wishes

One of the benefits of an October wedding in Paso Robles, California is dry weather. In the  Northeast, there’d have to be a rain date or a tent!

Welcome-to-the-Celebration-Table

The table displayed the light, airy and romantic mood with its floral lace tablecloth, photos of the bride and groom, handkerchiefs, bubbles, potted plants, and sweet accessories.

Guests were invited to take dainty handkerchiefs–for tears of joy, of course.

I love the potted succulents and ranunculus!

Jenga Advice along with Shabby Chic  “L & D” and stacked books.

Advice for newlyweds? Guests could pen theirs on Jenga pieces.

Next Up: The party continues.

Related Post: DIY Wedding Decorations, Ceremony (Part 1)

DIY Wedding Decorations, Ceremony (Part 1)

Wedding Season

Hubby and I attended an October wedding in Paso Robles, a city in San Luis Obispo, California where we were amazed by the ever-changing landscape. One minute, there were farms, the next wineries, forests and the Pacific Ocean. Gorgeous!

Not only was the landscape a treat, the wedding was beautiful and–hon, you know I love a theme–I appreciated the DIY details that the bride attended to. Shout out to Linh, the lovely bride who put it all together.

Wedding Greeter.

A chalkboard sitting on an easel greeted guests.

This way!

How cute is this sign?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handprinted signs pointed the way. We didn’t know that ceremony would be under a..

A screen of flowers hung as a backdrop to the ceremony.

…300 year-old tree. This floral backdrop set the mood for the romantic, airy wedding.

Bride and groom.

Lining the aisle.

Lining the aisle were mason jars hanging on hooked stakes.

A lily pond and mini waterfall were nestled along the path. So pretty!

Next up: DIY wedding decoration continues all this week. Happy planning, hon.

Related Post: DIY Wedding Decorations, Cocktail Hour (Part 2)

Spring Kids Craft, Edible Birds Nests

Denver Botanic Gardens.

Edible Birds Nests.

When I taught After School Enrichment classes for grades 3-5, one of the projects we made was Edible Birds Nests. I didn’t take good pictures–think sticky-from-marshmallows-hands–so credit must be given to D Magazine’s Jessica Jones for these project photos.

Edible Birds Nests are easy, fun and perfect for celebrating Spring. Need an Easter activity for a party? This one is egg-cellent!

Gather ingredients.

Mold chow mein/melted marshmallow mixture into a cupcake tin.

 

Once the Birds Nests have hardened in the fridge, pop them out of the cupcake tin and fill with jellybean eggs.

A teeny-tiny nest with one egg is perfect as a cupcake topper. (thanks, Jessica Jones, for the suggestion.)

EDIBLE NESTS RECIPE (yields about 12 cupcake-sized nests)

Ingredients:

•1/4 cup butter

•3 cups marshmallows

•5 cups chow mein noodles

•Cooking spray

•Candy to fill nests

Directions:

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium-low heat. Remove from heat.

2. Add chow mein noodles, and mix til combined.

3. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray, as well as your fingers. Mold the mixture into nest shapes in the cupcake tin.

4. Place in freezer for at least an hour. Remove nests using a knife.

5. Fill with your choice of candy.

Source: DMagazine

Handsome Knit Men’s Scarf

No-Purl Ribbed Scarf

No-Purl Ribbed Scarf.

I used Merino Superwash so this scarf would be easy to wash and dry.

I used Merino Superwash so this scarf would be easy to wash and dry.

Inspiration piece from pattern posted on Ravely.

Inspiration piece shown with the pattern.

Cartridge Belt Rib

Searching for a handsome, masculine scarf, I found this pattern on Ravelry where credit is given to Purl Soho, a gorgeous yarn shop in Manhattan. This purl-less stitch is known as the Cartridge Belt Rib and is considered a classic stitch pattern. Purl Soho says,

This robust rib stitch produces prominent columns of elongated knit stitches separated by broad valleys of dense texture. The juxtaposition is not only fascinating; it’s beautiful too.

Happy knitting, hon.
MATERIALS:

Suggested on pattern–4 (5) skeins of Purl Soho’s Alpaca Pure, 100% alpaca. I used Sueno Worsted by HiKoo’s Merino Superwash, color Evergreen.
US #8 straight or circular needles – 5.0mm

YARDAGE:  436 – 545 yards (399 – 498 m)
GAUGE:  22 stitches = 4 inches in stitch pattern

FINISHED SCARF SIZE:  8 ½ inches wide x 64 (80) inches long

NOTES:

Slip all slipped stitches purl-wise.

This stitch pattern is worked over a multiple of 4 + 3 stitches.

PATTERN
Cast on 47 stitches.

Row 1: K3, *slip 1 wyif (with yarn in front), k3, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: K1, *slip 1 wyif, k3, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, slip 1 wyif, k1.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until piece measures 64 (80) inches from cast on edge or until desired length, ending with Row 2.

Bind off in a k3, p1 rib. Here’s how… K2, slip the first stitch over, k1, slip the first stitch over, *p1, slip the first stitch over, [k1, slip the first stitch over] 3 times, repeat from * to end of row.

Weave in ends and block as desired.

Source: purlsoho.com

 

 

 

Manly Scarf

Manly Scarf

Manly Scarf

Hubby modeling the Manly Scarf.

Hubby modeling the Manly Scarf.

Nephew trying on his Holiday gift.

Nephew wearing his Holiday gift.

Despite its name, I worried this scarf wasn’t manly enough. Maybe it was the yarn or maybe it was the stitch, but I wondered, “Does this scarf look masculine?” I wasn’t convinced until Hubby tried it on. Yay! It looked great, and was ready to be wrapped as a gift for my nephew.

Happy knitting, hon!

Manly Scarf

Stitches are cast on for the entire length of the scarf, which is knit from side to side on a circular needle. Tip: Place stitch markers every 20 stitches (or however many stitches you like). This makes keeping track of the total stitches much easier. 

Yarn: The yarn used in the pattern on Ravelry was Manos del Uruguay Handspun Semi Solids, skein of 100g: 138 yards/126 m

4-5 skeins of main color

1-2 skeins of contrast color

Needles:  One US 10 (6mm) circular needle (as long as possible). Change needle size if necessary to obtain gauge.

Notions:  Stitch markers. One yarn needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge: 

In stockinette stitch, 10 cm/4 inches = 14-18 stitches

In pattern stitch, 10 cm/ 4 inches = 10-12 stitches

Pattern Stitch

Row 1:  Knit all stitches.

Row 2:  Knit 2 together to end.

Row 3:  Knit into front and back of every stitch.

Row 4:  Purl all stitches.

Directions:

Cast on 250 stitches. Work in pattern stitch until scarf has desired width. The stripe pattern is 3 pattern repeats in the main color, then one in the contrast color like this:

MC x 3

CC

MC x 3

CC

MC x 3

Cast off.

Notes:  Click the link under Source to see the original pattern, where the author of the pattern explains how to substitute the yarn. I used a different yarn than the one shown on Ravelry and since–gasp–I detest making swatches, I winged it, casting 250 sts and knitting to a width and length I thought looked good on a guy. (I know, very scientific!)

Source: Ravelry, pattern by Johanna K Sarten

 

DIY Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Wrapped and ready to give out.

Wrapped and ready to give out.

Go from this…

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to this…

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in four easy steps!

Four-Step Favors

Need a quick and easy idea for favors, goodie bags or stocking stuffers? These sweet-n-salty snacks are so yummy, my family couldn’t wait to eat the duds and broken pieces.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Ingredients:

pretzel logs

chocolate discs (click here to see Wilton’s Candy Melts)

sprinkles, cookies to crush and/or sparkly sugar

wax or parchment paper

Prep:

Pour sprinkles into pans with sides. I used several 9″ x 11″ dishes for different sprinkles. Line baking dishes with wax or parchment paper so finished pretzels can dry.

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate discs in microwave according to package directions. I used several flavors and melted one flavor at a time. (Tip. I microwaved the discs a little less time than recommended and stirred to finish melting the discs. Over doing it in the microwave causes the chocolate to get “sandy” and then it’s not usable.)
  2. Spoon melted chocolate over half a pretzel log.
  3. Immediately either roll the chocolate part in the sprinkles or spoon the sprinkles on top of the chocolate. Rolling is more efficient, but the melted chocolate drips into the sprinkles and makes the sprinkles globby. I ended up spooning decorations on top of chocolate.
  4. Line pretzels up on baking dish to dry. Drizzle melted chocolate over the bare half of the pretzel.

After all the pretzels are decorated, refrigerate them until the chocolate has hardened. Since I made these at night, I refrigerated them overnight (although they’d probably be fine in an hour) and wrapped them the next morning.

Melt chocolate in microwave.

1. Melt chocolate discs in microwave.

Spoon chocolate over half of each pretzel, then spoon sprinkles over melted chocolate.

2. Spoon chocolate over half of each pretzel.  3. Spoon sprinkles over melted chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

Line pretzel logs on a baking sheet. Crushed cookies and sugar were used as well as sprinkles.

4. Line pretzel logs on a baking sheet. Crushed cookies and sparkly sugar were used as well as sprinkles.

Drizzle melted chocolate over bare half of pretzels.

4 continued. Drizzle melted chocolate over bare half of pretzels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were such a hit, I’ll definitely be making them again!

Happy Holidays, hon!

Warm and Cozy Knit Infinity Scarf

Honey Cowl.

Honey Cowl.

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img_1272

I made this Infinity Scarf, called a “Honey Cowl,” last year and wanted to knit it again. This time, I followed the pattern for the shorter version. The Simplicity yarn color “49 Shades of Gray” has a hint of mint green and is a Merino wool blend. It was a pleasure to work with.

Happy knitting, hon.

Infinity Scarf, Honeycomb Cowl

Finished Measurements:  22 inches in length by 12 inches in width for short version (44 inches in length by 12 inches in width for longer version)

Yarn:  55% Merino Superwash merino, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon, 140 yards (128 meters), 2 (4) skeins (double check amount of yarn needed depending on type of yarn and yardage.)

Needles:  One US 8 (5.0mm) 26″ (66 cm) circular needle for short version or One US 8 (5.0 mm) 36″ (91 cm) circular needle for longer version.  Change needle size if necessary to obtain gauge.

Notions:  One stitch marker for beginning of round. One yarn needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge:  5 sts = 1 inch (10 cm) in honeycomb pattern.

Notes:  For an in-between size, 1 skein and 160 sts will create a 32 inch long by 8 inch wide cowl.  2 skeins at 160 sts will create a 32 inch long by 16 inch wide cowl.

Pattern Stitch:  Slip Stitch Honeycomb

Note:  When working rounds 2 and 4, slip as if to purl and keep yarn in front)

Round 1:  Knit

Round 2:  *Purl 1, slip 1 wyif* repeat across round

Round 3:  Knit

Round 4:  *Slip 1 wyif, Purl 1* repeat across round

Directions:

Cast on 110 (220) stitches.  Being careful not to twist stitches, place marker and join for working in the round.  Knit 4 rounds.

Repeat the 4 rounds of “Slip Stitch Honeycomb Pattern” above until work measures approximately 11 inches.  Make sure that you have enough yarn left over for the following:  Knit 3 rounds and bind off loosely.

Source:  Ravelry, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/honey-cowl/people

 

Time for Pie (Gluten Free Dough)

Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.

Gluten Free Baking cookbook by Michael McCamley.

Inspiration Photo.

Inspiration Photo.

Do you need a good gluten free dough recipe? 

This gluten free pastry dough recipe can be used for pie, quiche or other baked goods.  In this post, you’ll find ingredients and directions for making an Apple Pie as well as a link to a How To video I posted on You Tube.

Raw gluten free pastry dough doesn’t have the same sweet, buttery scent of regular dough but, once baked, the crust is flaky and delicious. Trust me, when this is served, there are no leftovers!

Happy baking, hon.

My Gluten Free Apple Pie.

My Gluten Free Apple Pie.

Click HERE to watch–Ta Dah!–my second, and short, How To Video.

Gluten Free Pastry Dough Ingredients

3 2/3 cups gluten-free flour, plus extra for dusting

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 stick butter, plus extra for greasing (I used Crisco vegetable shortening.)

1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients

6 cups apple slices (I use a combination of Granny Smith and other varieties)

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

approximately 1 Tablespoon flour

dash salt

1 egg, beaten (used to brush on top of crust before baking)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degress F.

2.  Combine apples, sugar, lemon juice, salt and spices.  This mixture will give off a lot of liquid so use a slotted spoon when spooning into pie crust, allowing you to spoon the apple mixture without the excess liquid.

3.  To make the pastry dough, combine the flour, xanthan gum, and confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the butter (or vegetable shortening) with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the egg and milk (or almond milk) and combine to make the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

4.  On a gluten free floured surface, divide the dough in two and roll each piece out to form a large circle*–one to line the pie plate and one to go on top of the pie. Line the pie plate with one of the pasty circles and add the apple filling.

5.  Add the second pastry circle as a lid and, using a fork, crimp the edges of the pasty all the way around. Pierce the pie in the middle a couple of times to let out steam during baking.

6.  Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden.

Serves 8

*I rolled out the dough by a)pressing dough ball down to flatten it, b)sandwiching dough between two pieces of wax paper, then c)rolling the rolling pin on top of the wax paper.  (Demo can be seen in the video.) If the dough sticks to the wax paper, you can spray the wax paper with non-stick spray.

**You can make this pie ahead and freeze it.  Let pie cool completely before wrapping in saran wrap and aluminum foil.  A couple of days before serving, defrost at room temperature.

Serving options:

Serve warm–after removing from oven, let cool about 20 minutes.

Serve room temperature–cool completely.

Rewarm defrosted pie– warm in a preheated 250- 275 degrees F oven, uncovered, until desired temperature.