Grandpa Sweaters & Burger Badges

Lion Brand's The Weekly Stitch newsletter included a fucking GEM on Thanksgiving:

Glittery Shrug

Am I right or am I right? Free crochet patterns are often boring or too boxy but this is quite handsome. I'm excited to start on it but my holiday gifts are currently my top priority. Being the selfish crafter that I am, I went out and bought yarn already!

Greystone | Moonstone | Platinum | Onyx

My local Jo-Ann didn't have enough greystone, and matching dye lots is so difficult, adding another color seems like a good alternative. So, the trim and bottom portion will be in greystone and the mesh and top portion in moonstone. The cuffs in either platinum or onyx would be a nice touch, right? What do you think? I picked up ruby red, but it's too bright and I actually kind of like the monochromatic color scheme.

This brings up another long-forgotten crochet project: my crocodile stitch skirt. The length hasn't increased much since this post from April, and truthfully, I don't know that I want to finish it. It seemed like such a great idea and I totally loved the colors I chose (for like, 5 minutes) but I can't get motivated about it. It's all a bit Easter or circus-y. I don't know. Candy colored pastels just aren't for me, I suppose.

In other news, I embroidered a badge and a brooch last week, and I absolutely LOVE my burger badge. I wish I could just make 16 more and be done with the holidays!

Unfortunately my family would all get a good laugh and maybe two cousins would actually wear them :( Would you wear them? I'm thinking of making more and selling them in my (empty) etsy along with my cross-stitched donut necklaces. The donut brooch design needs a little work, it's not quite there yet...


Baking, Baking, Baking

Our kitchen has been filled with amazing smells over the last few days because I've baked more since Wednesday than I have in m-o-n-t-h-s. This is, in part, thanks to a friend of mine who won a free cooking class after entering a pie-off. He was kind enough to share the delicious recipes with me, plus his top secret award-winning pie recipe! So sit back, relax, maybe grab a napkin for your inevitable drool, and enjoy these photos of delicious, delicious nomz.

I present to you my first real quiche: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Mushrooms with Garlic & Herb Goat Cheese. This was incredible! I've made mini quiche a few years ago for a Super Bowl but that doesn't really count. If you'd like the recipe, I'll make a PDF, just let me know in the comments :) Click here for the recipe!

Next up is the apple pie I made for Thanksgiving with Andrew's family. There is so much butter in this thing, it was essentially deep fried. So, so good. I used the same pie crust recipe as my last pie post, and I still totally recommend it.

Apple pie cookies were destined to be a staple in this apartment, I mean, that's just obvious. I've made several small batches and I still can't get over how cute and tasty they are. These were made with the same Smitten Kitchen recipe as last time, substituting maple syrup for sugar and adding plenty of walnut pieces. Absolutely wonderful. Look at how flaky the crust is in that last photo; a perfect example of how important it is to NOT overwork your dough!

For no apparent reason, I woke up with a serious craving for french toast Sunday morning. Cornflake crusted french toast was clearly the answer because we actually had cornflakes. I used this super simple recipe and blended the rest of my leftover apple pie cookie filling as a topping. I'd say compote just to make myself feel fancy, but it was basically apple sauce. It didn't even need syrup, it was so good! I couldn't bear to cut out circles in all of our bread though, so I did enough for one fabulous photo. Oh, the sacrifices I make for this blog...


New Look

This weekend I set out to finish what I started because, let's face it, I'm terrible at finishing things. Which unfinished project am I talking about now? Revamping Hippopotamuslee! I first blogged about redesigning things here back in November of last year. Though I didn't switch to WordPress, I've finished my mark and created a proper header! It (she? I?) started out as this pencil sketch and vector drawing:

I'm really happy with how it turned out! Knowing me and my perfectionist ways, I'll probably end up reworking the lettering some. What do you guys think? Do you dig the new look? I certainly hope so!

UPDATE: I drew the lettering! It's based on my handwriting & originally looked like:



When I first started this blog I was obsessed with swap-bot. Eventually I had to wind down because I couldn't afford all of the postage, and now it's been over a year since I last signed in! To motivate myself to get back on the bandwagon of crafting adorable, small, albeit useless things, I decided to post some of my past creations :)

The guys above and the turtle below were all 2" or smaller; the smaller, the better!

Amigurumis were actually how I started crocheting more regularly. I called this little pooch Guccigurumi because it's supposed to be my uncle's Maltese, Gucci!

Unfortunately none of the groups I was a part of are still active on swap-bot, and most of my family is totally not into this sort of thing, so I can't even make them as small holiday gifts! Maybe I can swap with some awesome crafty bloggers? Right??


The Greatest Apple Pie (I've) Ever Made

It also happens to be the first one I've ever made, but that's beside the point!

Andrew and I have been eating take-out and super simple meals so often lately, I decided it was time to make something that would require some real effort. What better solution than homemade pie from scratch? It didn't take long for us to choose the kind of pie after a short trip to the Logan Square farmers market (I'm pretty embarrassed to admit it was our first time there this year).

We picked up golden delicious and granny smith apples. In retrospect, I wish we had gotten more of a variety but there's always next time!

To make the crust I used this great Smitten Kitchen recipe. I cannot recommend it enough, I was super worried but I could not have been happier with the results.

While my dough chilled (for 2 whole hours!) I peeled, cored, and sliced the apples.

For the filling I combined a few different recipes, but mostly this one from Smitten Kitchen. Martha suggested dotting the filling with butter, so, duh, I listened!

Rolling out the dough started out really stressful but ended up being a lot of fun! I popped the dough in the freezer every ten minutes practically. Even bought my first rolling pin and broke out my mini pie cutters I got on super duper sale from CB2!

The moment it came out of the oven I could not contain my joy! The crust was so shiny and looked absolutely beautiful. I wanted to shove the entire thing in my mouth right there and then.

Because the top crust would have collapsed if I dug in prematurely, I decided to be resourceful and make mini apple pie cookies with my leftover scraps of dough. I had a ton of filling left so it was perfect. Smitten Kitchen has a recipe for those, too!

It had to cool for 4 hours and I started the whole process around 5pm, so we didn't get to eat any until the next morning. At 8am. With ice cream. I also tweeted the entire experience because I'm a doofus and I like to share. Plus it was so pretty! I don't claim to know anything about pie, but man, that was some good pie.

Next time I plan to use more of a variety of apples, a little less clove and nutmeg, more sugar (or maybe just less granny smith apples?) and a larger pie dish! I used an old pie tin from Baker's Square.


BOOM Recap

After the tequila wore off (what was I thinking?), I realized how sad I was the night was over. The only unfortunate part was my lack of a camera. Andrew sold his Olympus a couple of weeks ago and his wide angle lens is currently being repaired. There's no way I could have managed to take any good photos with my phone or his telephoto lens (though I regret not trying!), so I had to wait till I could steal photos to post this. These event photos are all courtesy of Josh Slater.

I'd never been to Beauty Bar, not even when it was Sonotheque, but it was super cute! The decor and atmosphere were totally perfect for the event.

The blogger gift bags were filled with really awesome things from naKiMuli, Simply Be, We Love Colors, Masaari, and Re/Dress. We also got some great gift certificates from Monif C., Masaari, and Jibri. All very exciting and super cool.

I'm so grateful Tiffany invited me! It was awesome meeting Christina, Olivia, and Brittney. Plus all of the wonderful ladies who showed up! And Samwell! There are tons more photos over on the Boom in the Trunk blog so go check them out :)

And I'm sure you've noticed my Simplicity prom dress never came to fruition. I just got too nervous about ordering the wrong fabric online, something I obviously need to get over, and quick. Looking back, I definitely would have felt overdressed had I finished in time. My muslin doesn't fit quite right yet so I still have some work to do, and another rad event to wear it to!