Make’n’Tell Day 16: Dough I Know You?

February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in a very long time: I baked bread. I used the baguette recipe I posted about a while back, but I’ve made some slight modifications in process since then. See, it turns out that most bread recipes are written with instructions to maximize crustiness. I guess most people like a really crunchy crust? Not me (or my kids): I want my bread moist and chewy and not ripping up the roof of my mouth. I can eat me some Cap’n Crunch if I want that.

Makes me hungry just looking at it.

So. I went back to those recipes and books and I paid special attention to the bits that were emphasized for crustiness: baking on a stone, steaming (with a pan of water in the oven), and painting the dough with a coat of water just before baking. Then I stopped doing all of those things, and now I have bread with perfect — for us — crust. It’s chewy and delicious, but not at all crunchy. I don’t use any water, either applied to the dough or to steam, and instead of baking on a stone I bake on parchment paper on an airbake cookie sheet (or in a loaf pan).

Make’n’Tell Day 15: More Of the Same

February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

More knitting yesterday: All Seasons Cowl, Thing Which Cannot Be Shown, and an entrelac cowl I’d been working on before the holidays then forgotten about.


Make’n’Tell Days 11-14: No Work and All Nyquil Make Laura Something Something

February 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Completely forget about MnT posts? DON’T MIND IF I DO!!!

Sorry about that…I did do some making every day, both on the sunset scarf and the Projects That Must Not Be Named. I’m actually a little disappointed in the scarf…I had planned/hoped for it to be a wrap, but underestimated the width I needed. So now it’s a scarf, which will probably be joined into a cowl. So we’ll see how that goes.


Oh! Speaking of cowls, as you can see in the picture I also started another All Seasons Cowl (will add link later, I promise). I can only do a few rows at a time because of the giant (size 50!) needles. But the stitches are so big it should still be a pretty fast project. I’m using this great Fettuccini that’s hot pink and kind of shaggy, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to make me feel like a rock star when I wear it.

I think the lack of variety in my projects is making this MnT less exciting for me than I’d hoped, so I’m going to mix it up a bit and impose an additional rule: at least three posts per week must be non-knitting OR brand new knitting projects. On that note, I’m off to the Pinterest boards!

Make’n’Tell Day 9: Nothing To…Aw, Crap — I Already Used That Title

February 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Except this time, there really is nothing to see here. Wait — actually, here’s a great pic of Becky that I took yesterday:

Seven going on 25

Seven going on 25 (the purple hair adds some years)

Whew. That was close. Seriously, though, I just worked on unshowables yesterday. I did get a lot done, just nothing I can show (yet).

Make’n’Tell Day 8: Clay Day

February 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

I saw this pin a while back for making clay with cornstarch and dishsoap, and I actually meant to make it for the  kids on one of our many snow days, but kept forgetting. Today Becky was looking for something artsy to do, so I decided to throw this together for her.

The artist at work

The artist at work

Ours didn’t ever get ropy like the picture, but was more the consistency of paper clay. I think she found it a little frustrating to work with but it held her attention for  20 or 30 minutes, and I think it was also a good introduction to impermanent art. See, Becky’s a lot like I am, and channels her creativity into making “things”. Making something useless or impermanent is almost anathema to us. So I think that sometimes pushing ourselves into doing that — even though it’s frustrating — is a good thing.

Make’n’Tell Day 7: Do You Fondue? I Fondue You!

February 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Last night, Becky and I were on our own, as Zack and Kit were off to Zacky’s karate school awards banquet. The banquet’s big draw was a chocolate fountain, so I told Becky we would do chocolate fondue at home.


We used dark chocolate for the fondue (because that’s what we had on hand, because that’s what we usually eat), and Becky didn’t care for it, but has agreed to try it again with milk chocolate. She’s such a trooper, that one. She *did* try something entirely new for her, pound cake, which she quite liked (because, duh). Since she tries something new approximately once every 2.5 years, I’m calling it a win. Other dippers we had were marshmallows, animal crackers, toffee cookies, pretzels, and pop chips. My favorites were the marshmallows and animal crackers. I do not recommend the pop chips.

Make’n’Tell Day 6: Nothing to See Here

February 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

No, I didn’t make those. But remember I said there were a bunch of things I was working on that I can’t show you? Yesterday was one of those days. But, these leggings give hints to the color scheme of the deliciousness I’m currently working on…hopefully I’ll be able to show you soon.

On another note, Creativity Challenge Day 3 was “recharge your space”. Since my studio is still under construction, I sat down with a quickie design program (Floor Plan Creator) and tried out a few different configurations. Unfortunately, most of my furniture is in storage so I’m guesstimating sizes, but I think I have a pretty good idea of what will be going where. If only the weather would cooperate so we can get the walls painted and the floor put in! I’m super excited about getting into my own space and having lots of organization and work spaces. Day 4 is “Create Something Awesome” so I’m off to do that now.

Make’n’Tell Day 5: This Isn’t the Hook You’re Looking For

February 6, 2014 § 2 Comments

Yet Another Snow Day, so I asked the kids if there was anything they were itching to do, and both said “clay!” Since I’d been planning on making a TOTALLY AWESOME handle for one of my crochet hooks, this sounded perfect to me. Unfortunately, when we pulled out the bag of clay I had on hand, none of the colors I needed were there. So, I went ahead and made this other, totally awesome in a completely different way, handle.

Flowered sculpey crochet hook handle

I’ll make the other one later in the month. Just need a day not filled with snow and freezing rain to get to the craft store. Or possibly to place an Amazon order.

Make’n’Tell Day 4: A Little Something Different

February 5, 2014 § 1 Comment

As you might have guessed from the title, this post deviates slightly from the normal Make’n’Tell. Instead of something crafty or delicious, yesterday, my “make” was working on making myself a happier person. A while ago, I followed a bunch of links from Tara Swiger’s Starship blog (which I am totally going to do when I am in the right place to really launch my design business…I’m not there yet, but I will be!), and I found this amazing blog Effervescence: the art of liking yourself, full of caring and gentle and nurturing posts. If you know me, you know that I am SO not a self-help person. It’s just not my bag. I always feel preached at and judged and uncomfortable and like I’m doing it wrong, and this blog is sort of the complete opposite of that. It is a welcoming, comforting, peaceful place. I’ve been moved to tears more than once reading it, not even necessarily by the content, but because I feel so good when I am there.

So when Kylie (she runs the place) offered Unencumbered, a free week “that will teach you how to break free from self-loathing and live a fuller, more fulfilling life”, I jumped at it. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I hemmed and hawed and spent a lot of time reminding myself of all the times I signed up for something like this and didn’t follow through because I was too scared/anxious/whatever, and then I realized that, unlike most of those other times, I was actually trying to talk myself into this rather than out of it. So I signed up for it, and committed to it. Last night I spent doing the homework, which felt really good. So that was my make for the day.


It’s actually already paid off…this  happened last week, and I think a lot of the credit goes to the fact that I was already thinking about and excited about how I can take better care of me:

This is the second year Becky has done her school play, and the parents are required to volunteer for a committee. Last year, I was assigned to costumes, which was perfect for me. This year…well, I got an email Friday night that I had been assigned to be a room monitor. A wave of dread washed over me, and I could immediately feel a panic attack starting. See, I have social anxiety. I’m pretty good at covering it up and/or avoiding situations that would trigger it, but a room full of kids would be nearly impossible for me. Plus, even when I am successfully covering, my anxiety tends to come out as anger and irritation: not fun for me, and not fun for the kids. I really didn’t know what to do…just the thought of being in a room with 10 strange kids (maybe more!) was making my gut clench and head hurt…but on the other hand, it’s for Becky, so she can be in the play, and I never want my issues to get in the way of her doing things she wants to do.

And then it occurred to me to do something I’d never done with a stranger: just say, “I can’t do this, because I have severe social anxiety.” So I did. I wrote back, and said exactly that. I offered to do just about anything else, as long as it didn’t involved prolonged interactions with people. I waited to send it, because my one remaining fear was that the other moms would talk, and a kid would overhear, and then Becky would be the girl with the crazy mom. So I waited until she got up the next morning and explained the situation and my concerns to her, and she said I should definitely send the email. I heard back a couple of hours later from the committee chair, who thanked me for letting her know and put me on poster duty.

I suppose it’s still possible that there will be repercussions for Becky (and Zack), but right now, I’m feeling pretty good about speaking up for myself and my needs (and showing my kids that’s an okay thing to do!).

P.S. It’s not too late to sign up for Unencumbered, if this sounds like something that would be good for you. Also, free. Also also, very no pressure.

Make’n’Tell Day 2: I Did It All For the Cookie

February 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

Chalk Drawing

Zack’s getting into the make action, too!

Right before Christmas last year, I did that thing where you all of a sudden decide that you need to bake All Of the Cookies and you only have like two days to do it (that happens to everyone, right, it’s not just me?). I wanted to make all my old standbys, but also felt like trying some new recipes, so I consulted my extensive library of cookbooks watched some shows on the Food Network asked my friends and family for recommendations headed to Pinterest. I found a couple of things to try, and for the most part they were pretty successful, but Becky went absolutely gaga for these chocolate chip toffee cookie strips. She’s been nagging asking me to make more ever since, and I thought they’d be a great share for Make’n’Tell.

Not only are these cookies delicious, but I get to use my new favorite technique for rolling out the dough. Instead of putting it between two sheets of wax paper or whatever, you put it in a Ziploc and leave about 1/2″ open at the top for the rest of the air to escape. Then you just roll your dough out inside the bag, and cut the bag open when you’re done. No muss, no fuss.

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Strips

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies

No, I did not eat all of these after taking the picture. Not all at once, anyhow.


  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yoke
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking bowder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 c. toffee chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugars together in mixer.

Add eggs and vanilla.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing until thoroughly combined.

With a wooden spoon, stir in chocolate and toffee chips.

Take half of mixture and seal in a gallon size Ziploc bag, leaving about 1/2″ open. Roll dough flat (you’ll only be able to get it as flat as your chips are tall, so about 1/4″). Cut open bag and put dough on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with 2nd half of dough.

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