WIP: Round One

Ahh, look! Look! I've made a bunch of progress on my hexagons, you guys!
When I wrote about my new quilt project, I was still unsure of what colors to use. I ended up getting rid of the solid black yarn because of our two very hairy dogs that shed a lot, a whole lot. Just made more sense.

My goal of one a day got a little boring by day two, so I decided to go about it a bit differently, and, well... I guess I got carried away? 24 down, 97 to go! So, instead of one a day, I'm working from the center outward for each set of 24. I started on the first round of the next 24 but I'm giving my fingers a little break. Especially after starting this baby:

I'm using Colour in a Simple Life's awesome (and free) Granny Bobble Spiral pattern. I love it so much it hurts ☹. It works up really quickly, too. I think I'll make it into a pillow for our bedroom once it's big enough for a standard insert. All this crocheting of course renewed my interest in Ravelry. Are any of you on there?


Homemade Confectionery

Valentine's Day hasn't meant much to me, really, since I was in middle school. In my mind I am actually fourteen, so that's probably why I'm totally obsessed with ♥ heart ♥ decorations ♥. I bought 21 pink and glittered heart picks from Dollar Tree with no real use for them. They're just adorable and that's all that matters.

This Valentine's Andrew and I ordered delivery and watched "Paranormal Activity 4" while making homemade truffles using Jacques Torres' Chocolate Truffles recipe.

The recipe makes a whopping 180 truffles, so we quartered everything accordingly; in the end we ended up with about 30. The entire process was surprisingly simple albeit a bit time consuming. Totally worth it, though!

There are three components: ganache, enrobing chocolate and garnishes. We opted to skip using alcohol in the ganache, and added a tablespoon of butter instead. After combining a bit of the finely chopped chocolate with the heated cream, we poured it into the remaining chocolate slowly and continued stirring till smooth. There's a lot of food science going on here with temperature extremes and fat separation but you can read about that elsewhere! After pouring the ganache onto the plastic-covered cookie sheet, we mixed cayenne pepper into a small portion before refrigerating it.

Once our ganache chilled, we began the tedious and cold(!) rolling process. After every two rolls we had to dip our hands in ice water so the chocolate wouldn't melt in our palms. While letting those chill, we prepped garnishes. I toasted shredded coconut and hazelnuts, chopped pistachios, and Andrew chopped white chocolate despite both of us not really liking white chocolate.

The most fun, aside from eating them, was the coating and garnishing! As much as I love cooking gadgets, I opted to use a plastic fork with the two middle tines broken off instead of buying a two-prong dipping fork. Worked like a charm! I didn't want to roll the truffles around in anything but the cocoa powder so I just sprinkled the toppings while they sat on the rack.

I didn't thoroughly read through the tempering process prior to making everything. Had I known, I wouldn't have used chocolate chips! Apparently chips have additives that prevent them from tempering properly. It's alright though, I don't need my chocolate to be shiny for it to be worthwhile.

Andrew likes them all and refuses to name his favorite but my vote is for cayenne pepper, for sure! Sea salt is a close second. Next time I'll try some with more mix-ins. I think cointreau liqueur mixed in with orange zest garnish would be awesome. Cocoa nibs, espresso... ah, so many delicious possibilities!


Quilt Making? Me?

Snow has been falling, my nose won't stop leaking, and my intense seasonal desire to crochet has come back in full force. So much that I've decided to make a quilt! It's ok to laugh, we all know my track record! I'm not even sure what the difference between quilts, throws, blankets and afghans is, but I'm crocheting a big warm thing and I'm excited. My hands were aching to stitch mindlessly while watching movies, so I figured why not? Plus I hate going out in this cold/snow...

I'll be using Red Heart's Crochet Hexagon Throw Crochet Pattern (a bit wordy there, huh Read Heart?) plus a little help from Jacquie over at Bunny Mummy. She has a super great, easy-to-follow tutorial with a variety of beautiful bright colors, but I'm sticking to a smaller, muted color palette to match our living room:
You know me and my need for visuals. I spent a good 2 hours figuring out 120 color combinations using the 5 colors up there (orange will be my border—maybe), making sure there were no repeats. I'm sure ~pro~ quiltmakers have a better solution than mine but whatever.

The original pattern is an 11x9 hexagon grid, but mine will be 11x11, which means there are 121 hexagons! I'll have to figure out what to do with my center point when the time comes, but for now an orange placeholder will do. My (low pressure) plan is to crochet one hexagon a day which'll have the quilt done just in time for freezing June weather! Ha! Here's hoping I can get it done faster.

Originally, I thought about using this color palette but the orange and brown made it feel so... I don't know, retro? Not that retro is a bad thing.

I have all of the colors except brown in my stash already, but I'm not totally sold on either color scheme… Any opinions?