Somebunny To Love

Can anybunny find me – somebunny to love?

Over the years I have collected quite the stash of  fabric and yarn.  Last year I decided that I wasn’t going to buy anymore until I’ve put a sizable dent into the collection. I’ve been pretty good about it too. I’ve been able to make plenty of gifts essentially for free and they’ve been some of the better gifts that I’ve given. In my opinion anyways. The only additions that I’ve made have been in the form of accidentally shrunken sweaters and ripped jeans.
This bunny was made out of one of these shrunken wool sweaters, some flannel from my stash, and some reclaimed cashmere yarn from my old job, all three elements making him unbelievably soft. He is stuffed with wool batting which will retain heat making this guy perfect for cozy little cuddles.  He came together really quickly. Such a fun little project. The pattern came from Hazelnuts found via craft blog.  I also saw a post about this bunny forever ago on one of my favorite blogs terrallectualism, which I forgot about until after I had already given the little guy away, and came across the post again. It must have hopped around my brain until it was time for me to make my version. I love how things have a way of coming full circle on the internet. It’s like six degrees of separation for blogs.
Since the cashmere yarn is reclaimed (ie: unraveled sweater scraps) it has a bit of a kink to it, which added an extra element of yum to the tail.  Its my favorite part of the bunny.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

I’m obsessed with shortbread cookies right now. It started at an annual bring a dozen take a dozen cookie party. I brought these lavender rosemary (ooh rosemary sweets is another obsession) black pepper polenta shortbread cookies and my girlfriend showed up with almond orange shortbread cookies. In my unbiased *ahem* opinion, they were the two best cookies there. Last week I made earl grey shortbread cookies to send in a birthday care package. I used the recipe in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

Next timeI’m going to melt the butter and infuse it with the tea and strain out the leaves. Then I’ll let the butter harden again and proceed with the recipe. I’ll keep you posted.

The Gift of a Bloody Mary with Free Download!!!!

I love love love making gifts for people. I find it to be no more or less stressful than shopping at the store. I’m not saving that much money and I’m *really* not saving any time. I love making gifts because it is an opportunity to be creative and make something and then get it the f*** out of my house. For the holidays this year, we made most of the presents that we gave away. Figuring out what to make for the person who has everything is really hard, so I tend to lean towards food, and sometimes the best edible gift is a liquid lunch.

Enter the bloody mary kit. Each kit had most of the ingredients to make a really yummy cocktail. I included a bottle of infused vodka, a jar of rimming salt, a jar of seasoning blend, a small bottle of Peychaud’s bitters, a big bottle of tomato juice, and a couple of limes. The only ingredients that I didn’t include were Worcestershire Sauce and Tobasco Sauce, since I figured that most people have these in their fridge. Having all the ingredients on hand makes enjoying a tasty bloody mary really easy. Almost as simple as using a mix, but a million time better. After searching the internet for bloody mary recipes I came across this one that sounded pretty tasty and had plenty of elements that would work well in a kit. Here is my version.

VODKA
1 750 ml bottle of decent vodka (something you would want to drink, but doesn’t have to be the most expensive stuff either)
1 organic* sweet red pepper
1 organic* lemon
5 cloves organic* garlic
2-3 black peppercorns
*I feel that it is important to use organic ingredients when making infusions. The alcohol will extract everything.

I started by infusing the vodka with red bell peppers, lemon zest and garlic cloves. Combine all the ingredients in a clean jar. Then the botanicals infuse the vodka for a few days. I tasted it every day after day two. I liked the way it tasted after about five days. I strained the mixture so the final product would be nice and clear, albeit a golden yellow color.

SEASONING BLEND
The original bloody Mary recipe that I used called for a dash of this and two dashes of that. Combining all the spices called for shortens the amount of time between you and your bloody mary.
1.5 T celery salt
1T White Pepper
1T Garlic Powder
1T Onion Powder

Mix all the ingredients together and put in a spice jar. You will only use about 3/4 of tsp per cocktail.

RIMMING SALT
I love the extra kick of flavor that rimming salt adds to a drink. This recipe on chow.com inspired the whole bloody mary kit idea.
1/2 ounce sun-dried tomatoes (dry packed, not in oil)
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 cup kosher salt (about 2 1/2 ounces)

Preheat your oven to 250°
Slice the tomatoes in thin strips, then mix with the tobasco and worcestershire sauces until the tomatoes are evenly coated. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet and bake until they are dry and slightly darker. They should feel dry to the touch. Let the tomatoes cool and then grind in a spice grinder or food processor until the tomatoes pieces are about the same size as your salt flakes. Add the celery seeds and pulse a couple times to combine. Put this mixture in a medium sized bowl and mix with the salt. Store in an airtight container for up to two months.

CREATING YOUR COCKTAIL
Ingredients
Rimming Salt
1/2 lime
3/4 tsp Seasoning Blend
6-8 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
4-6 dashes Tobasco Sauce
2-3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
2 oz Infused Vodka
Tomato Juice

Pour some of the rimming salt into a saucer. Slide half of the fresh lime around the rim of a large collins glass. Dip the rim into the saucer of rimming salt. Fill the glass 2/3 full with ice. First add the spice blend, then the worcestershire and tobasco sauces, followed by the bitters and a generous squeeze of lime. Finally, add the vodka and tomato juice. Give it a stir and a garnish and enjoy!

To make the kit cohesive, I branded everything. It was so much fun to make all the labels, and I loved the silliness of putting labels on the limes and tomato juice. I’ve decided to share the label artwork! Download the labels here.

I hope you enjoy your bloody marys!

DIY Sponges

In my quest to buy less stuff, I started to make my own sponges using the plastic net bags that some fruits and veggies are sold in at Trader Joe’s. It’s a pretty easy process. I use two or three bags per sponge. I like to use the smaller bags that have ginger or garlic in them, and stuff them with the larger bags the onions and limes come in. Then I stitch the outer bag closed and do a line of stitches down the middle to hold everything together and that’s it! When you take your produce out, make sure you open the bag with scissors so you have nice straight edges to work with.

They hold soap really well and are excellent scrubbies. They last a few weeks and don’t get stinky like regular sponges do. I have a little stock pile of bags ready to sew up whenever I need a new sponge, but I’m trying to not buy produce at Trader Joe’s anymore, so eventually I’ll run out. Long Beach has a few really great sources of produce, which I feel really lucky about, but they don’t package produce in the plastic net bags, which is really a good thing in every aspect except for DIY sponges.

Tying the Knot

A dear friend of mine got married last month. Her wedding was absolutely amazing and every detail full of love. I helped with many aspects of the wedding which I’ll share later. For now, let’s talk zentangles.

I wanted to make a special card to go along with her shower gift, so I drew up a knot filled with zentangles. I’ve been doing these meditational doodles for a couple years now, but it wasn’t until a few weeks back that I learned they had a name. Which makes looking up new patterns a LOT easier.

I also decorated the outside of the envelope. I love adding quick extra details to things.

Deneem the Dolpheen

I’ve turned into somewhat of an (eco) hoarder. My neighbor came to me asking for a vet recommendation. I have so many animals that he thought I worked for a vet. I told him that I don’t work at a vet office, but I’m one divorce away from being a cat lady. I just find it hard to say no to a stray or to throw away perfectly “good pieces” of fabric. Even if the perfectly good piece is part of a pair of ripped jeans. Don’t even ask me about the glass jar situation in my garage.

While skimming through pintrest one day, I came across a whale made out of denim and I knew I was on to something with my pile of ripped jeans. My stepdaughter LOVES dolphins and her birthday was coming up. I did a search for dolphin softie patterns and came upon this little cutie. I put it all together this is what I gave my stepdaughter. I have to say, when I see her carry it all over our house or schlep it back and forth between here and San Diego, I get a little smile on my face.

My favorite part of the whole project is the way the eyes came out. I used glass faceted beads backed with felt circles.

Happy New Year! (almost)

These days, I try not to get excited about the start of a new year, but it’s really hard not to. Something about a fresh start and all that jazz. We’ll see what 2012 has in store for us.

Let’s start this blog off with a hand drawn & printed card that I made for new years a couple years back…ahh 2010. We were really looking forward to a fresh start that year. 2009 was a tough one and we wanted to send happiness out into the world. Instead of including a year in review letter to our friends and family (which would have been depressing), we looked forward to what we wanted to do in the coming year. We had grand plans of adventurous travel and other fun things, but ended up making a baby instead. We were so optimistic and 2010 turned out to be a great year!