Found It on the Internet Friday #3

July 29, 2011 § 3 Comments

This one’s for the kids!

Flutterbys!

This past week was our company picnic, which is awesomely fun but unfortunately due my current (lack of)mobility issues I knew I wouldn’t get to participate in a lot of the activities. Since I still wanted to be there to hang out with folks and see all the people from the other office and so on, I decided to grab a project small enough to work on in the +90° temps. I’ve been wanting to make a bunch of these for the kids to play with for awhile now, so I sat down and crocheted away. I did try to figure out a good way to set it up so I wouldn’t have to make two pieces and join them, but the ones made separately really did come out better. I actually made a total of 6 (there was a moment of panic when it looked like I’d only made five and the children would have to — gasp! —  share, but I found the McGoohan [big nerd points if you get that one] and all was well), but one of the children grabbed hers and ran off cackling gleefully before I had a chance to get a picture of them all together.

Yarn is LB Lion Wool Prints in Autumn Sunset

ETA link to the pattern (oops!): Found it on CrochetSpot

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Size Matters

July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ever wonder why some sweaters consider a 42″ bust measurement a small and others call a 40″ bust a large? Over on the Lion Brand Blog I talk about what sizes really mean and how to choose the right one for the sweater you want to make.

Found It on the Internet Friday #2

July 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

Something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

This will never be what it's supposed to be. Just not gonna happen.

I found this awesome tutorial for making ojami (japanese bean bags) a couple weeks ago and thought, “Hey, that does look like fun!” So I decided it would be this week’s FIotIF project. It looked simple enough, and really, it probably is. But when you’re too lazy to look up the instructions on your interwebby device and just trust to your somewhat dodgy memory, things can go — and in this case clearly have gone — awry.

Now that I’m looking at the instructions, I clearly skipped, oh, about 7 steps. And also just made up a bunch of stuff. So I’m thinking I’ll try this one again over the weekend, actually following the directions this time. And I think it’ll turn out great. Because again, awesome tutorial. It’s hardly their fault I’m too lazy to follow them.

Perfect Brownies, I Can Makes Them

July 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

All thanks to Cook’s Illustrated, who I absolutely adore. It is by far my favorite cooking magazine and reference, because they not only give you the recipe and a maybe a little story to go along with it, but they tell you why and how it works. Not only that, they describe the process they used to get to the final recipe, including all the different ways they went wrong. I love that. I try to do it myself for, presumably, they same reason they do: partly so if you want to make a change to the recipe you’ll already know exactly what happens when you do certain things and you don’t have to repeat my mistakes, but also so if one of those “mistakes” happens to be the result you want, now you know how to do that, too. And not only that, sometimes those bits of information can be applied to other recipes and experimentations, once again demonstrating that all knowledge is worth having. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you get yourself access to CI, either digitally or on paper.

Yes, they are as good as they look. Possibly better.

So. Brownies. I looooooove chewy fudgy brownies. I hate double boilers. These two things have kept me from making brownies from scratch, well, forever. Because most decent brownie recipes make you melt your chocolate down in a double boiler, and then they result  in cakey brownies. If that’s your thing, go with god and Baker’s box recipe and party on. If, like me, you prefer the chewy, fudgy variety brownie that is usually produced only from a red box filled with powder (I always liked Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies, myself), read on.

See, it turns out that the secret to fudgy brownies is not just the right proportion of fats, liquids, and solids but the right types of fats in the right percentages. Brilliant! And best of all (for me anyhow, with my hatred of the double boiler), you do all of your melting in boiling water that’s part of the recipe!

I adapted this recipe very slightly from the published one, and I’ve included the brand names of the chocolates I use –they are not the same as the ones used by CI — because I happen to really like the way this combination turns out. You might like a different combo. Experiment until you find the right combo for you. I tried Ghiradelli unsweetened bars the first time and they have a serious citrus overtone that is, while sorta yummy, not what I’m looking for in a brownie. No matter what combo you choose, these brownies will be chewy, deeply fudgy, and have a lovely crisp top.

Recipe

(Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2010)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3c. Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2c. plus 2Tbsp boiling water
  • 2oz. Baker’s unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2c. plus 2Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2c. sugar
  • 1 3/4c. all purpose flour
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 6oz. dark chocolate chips (those melty ones you get in bulk to make fondue with at the grocery store — I found them in the bakery section — see picture, below)

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 13×9 pan with foil; spray lightly with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk cocoa and boiling water together until smooth. Add in unsweetened chocolate and continue to whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (CI notes at this point that the mixture may look curdled; I have not had this issue.) Whisk in eggs, yolks, and vanilla. Whisk in sugar. Stir in flour and salt (CI indicates a rubber spatula for this part; I use a wooden spoon and it seems to work fine) until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Fold in chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350° 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs). Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan on a rack for 1 1/2hrs. Using foil, remove brownies from pan and place on rack to cool another hour before serving.*

*Okay look, this is 2 1/2 hours of cooling time. I don’t know about you, but there is no chance in hell that fresh brownies are going to get that much alone time at my house. I usually make it about 45 minutes before I start cutting.

These are the chippy things I'm talking about -- they're like little discs.

Just a Little Something

July 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

So I finished Azzu’s Shawl, made with the leftover skein of Arucania Ranco Multy I had from this wrap:

Snuggly soft and just warm enough

I think I might be addicted to these little shawlettes…especially now that I’ve discovered that a) there are a ton of patterns out there for them and b) many of those patterns can be made with a skein of sock yarn, which I have *ahem* an abundance of. And I don’t really knit socks anymore…it just sort of wore off (mostly because I don’t really wear them much except around the house in the winter, and that seems like a waste of pretty yarn and good knitting). So lets see how many of those skeins I can make into more of these little pretties before I get tired of them, too. Next up is the Out of My Head pattern with my treasured skein of Sanguine Gryphon Eidos in the Tyndareus colorway.

So's you can see the pretty lace patterning.

The eagle-eyed among you may spot a rather large error in the completed shawl here. Please note that the error is all mine and is due to my lack of paying attention rather than any lack of clarity on the designer’s part. I happened to be far enough past the error and also far enough into the “OMG I’m almost done I can’t wait I can’t wait” zone that I chose to just leave it be. Also, I found the tracking chart to be invaluable as I worked the pattern. Checklists FTW! (If you download the pattern from Ravelry, both the pattern and the checklist will be available to add to your library/download.)

Found it on the Internet Friday #1

July 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hey, check me out — I not only remembered that I said I was going to do this thing, I actually went and did it! +1 for follow-through! So, this week’s FIotI projects is a simple bracelet/necklace thingie inspired by one I saw on Etsy (not that one, but the one I saw apparently no longer exists and this is the closest one I could find):

Cute, right?

Essentially, I chained about 3 1/2 yards of this awesome bulky 2ply cotton I picked up at a yarn con (one of the Stitches, maybe?) a few years ago, then joined the ends with one of my vintage buttons. If you read my old blog, you might remember the buttons. I have so many that I had to sort them by color.

I’m not 100% thrilled with it, but I think with the right outfit it’ll be really cute.

Not a Walking Carpet, but still Chewy

July 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

(See what I did there?) Back in the olden days, when not everyone had one of these fancy blog-thingies and in fact, hardly anyone who wasn’t some sort of supergeek even drove on the Internet Superhighway (remember that?) you could subscribe to these things called “newsgroups”.* Being a fairly geeky, cutting edge kind of gal, I joined several. Many of them were dedicated to recipes — you may have noticed I like to dabble a little in the kitchen. The following recipe came from one of those long-forgotten (by me, anyhow) recipe groups. If anyone knows the original source, I’m happy to add the info.

I cannot even tell you how glad I still have some of these so I can go eat them after looking at this picture. NOM.

A note before I pass this one along. It is very simple to make, but it is also a giant pain in the ass. The results are worth it, but I generally save these cookies for people who are very special to me, or who have something I want very badly.

*Yes, I know newsgroups are still around. But most people who joined the interwebs after, say, Y2K probably don’t. Work with me here, people.

Recipe

Makes about 4 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 c. cocoa
  • app. 48 Rolos (A note on the Rolos: it’s usually cheaper to buy them buy the bag, but then you have to shuck them as they are wrapped individually. If you buy them by the roll, you save yourself that step. The choice is yours.)

Cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. (Seriously, you want to do this very gradually, or you will end up wearing much of the cocoa and flour.) Cover and chill for at least two hours (I usually do it overnight — you want it to be really chilled). Remove wrappers from Rolos if necessary (see note above) and chill them as well.

Preheat oven to 375F. Using a spoon, scoop out enough dough to cover one Rolo. Roll dough into a ball around Rolo and place on cookie sheet. Repeat until your cookie sheet is full, placing cookies about an inch apart. Bake for 8 minutes. remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. While each sheet is baking, put remaining dough and Rolos back into the refrigerator. If it is particularly warm in your kitchen, you may even need to put the dough in the freezer — it’s really almost impossible to work with if it’s even a little soft. (Heh. TWSS.)

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