Breakfast, Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Knitting, lunch, Savoury

Ballet Wrap Sweater & Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying this cold weather! Now that I’m back in knitting mode, I’ve been caught up in my latest sweater, this mini ballet-style sweater/cardigan/what-have-you. While it’s definitely not ideal to wear only THIS sweater in the cold, I think the fit and size is just perfect to wear over a dress or tank top (while you’re indoors!) The pattern is free on Ravelry and is absolutely adorable, if I do say so myself. While it wasn’t nearly as quick a knit as my last sweater (it’s those damn tiny stitches!), I would still say it was fairly quick for any article of clothing.

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In terms of yardage, this particular sweater was perfect because I just used some yarn that I had left over from a project I had done ages ago. I love the ivory tone and that it has iridescent threads running through it; it really makes it more feminine and just a touch more festive for the holidays. I decided to sew in the pink satin ribbon instead of knitting the straps as well, just to keep with that ballet motif.

In addition to knitting, I’ve also been doing quite a bit of cooking lately; after roasting my turkey for Thanksgiving (which was graciously provided to us by my workplace), I decided to turn some of the leftover meat into Turkey and roasted garlic Rillettes!

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I don’t think that I’ve mentioned it here yet, but a few weeks ago I decided to turn down my job offer in LA. I know, sad story. But at this point in my life I feel like I need to focus more on my personal life rather than JUST my professional one, as I have in the past. I mean,  I just got married, I’m still really young, and I would love to enjoy all this time that I have while I still have it. Besides, if I’m talented enough, there will always be another opportunity for me in the future that is just as good as that one, or maybe even better. As always, patience is key.

Anyway, back to the rillettes! Rillettes happen to be one of my favorite forms of charcuterie; give me any kind of rillettes, some crusty bread, a few cornichons, and some stone ground mustard and I’m pretty much the happiest girl in the world. While this isn’t your traditional rillette (notice it’s missing the layer of fat on top for preservation), this was just my way of using up most of the leftover turkey we had in our fridge. Apparently a 14lb turkey was too much for two people. Who’da thunk? No recipe here, but basically what I did was I took the meat off of about half of our roasted turkey and put it in a big pot with some melted butter, a ton of roasted garlic (which I conveniently roasted alongside my turkey), sage leaves, fresh thyme, peppercorns, dry white wine, and red wine vinegar. I let the mixture simmer in the pot over very low heat for at least 2 hours (with the lid on), until meat was incredibly tender and the liquid was almost completely reduced. Once the mixture had cooled slightly, I removed the peppercorns and herb stems (the garlic had completely melted by then) and put the meat and juices in a food processor and blended it on low until it reached the consistency that I wanted: spreadable, but not pasty. I packed it into a couple of ramekins, and refrigerated it until I was ready to dig in (:

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Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Knitting, Sewing

Twinkle Knits and My First Sweater!

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Now that the weather in SoCal is starting to cool down, I thought it would be a great time to break out the needles! I absolutely refuse to knit when it’s warm out. Does that make me a bad knitter? I just can’t stand having the yarn weave through my fingers if I think my palms are about to get sweaty; it changes the texture of the yarn, I swear! I also have a strange dislike for complex knitting patterns… I find them to be intimidating. BUT after seeing the pattern for this sweater from Twinkle’s Big City Knits, I knew I was up for the challenge.

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Because it’s been a few months since I’ve knit anything, I also decided to start small and knit this cute little headband first, just so I can brush up on some simple techniques. I found the pattern here, and adjusted it a bit to fit the needles and yarn I had on hand. I’d have to say that while it does take off a few years (it makes me look waaaayy younger than I should), it’s just so darn adorable that I couldn’t resist!

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Anyway, back to the sweater! I have been coveting that book for quite some time now (it came out in 2007!), but since I have been a bit hesitant to buy any knitting book (remember, patterns scare me?), once I saw that they had a free pattern of one of their creations online, I hopped to it! AND, guess what? It actually wasn’t so bad!

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While I DID have to read over the pattern about a thousand times before I really understood everything, I think it was worth it to me to get out of my comfort zone for this one. I learned a few techniques that I’ve never done before, like bobbles and shaping, and in the end it turned out to be super cute, comfortable, and amazingly warm. The pattern can be found here (Canadian Living, not what you were expecting, right?) and I highly recommend it for a first-time-garment-knitter.

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Happy Knitting!

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Cake, Candy, Chocolate, Cookies, Crafts, DIY, fruit, Petit Four, Wedding

Wedded Bliss Part 3: Flowers and Showers

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Yesterday Robert’s mom was kind enough to throw me a bridal shower, and I have to say it was a lot of fun! We played games, won prizes, had awesome food, and I got to open up some great and very thoughtful gifts.

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All the bridesmaids seemed to enjoy themselves as well, so I’m pretty happy about that. The theme colors were pink and gold, and I wanted to make a little dessert buffet to match that.

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The spread looks kinda small, but we were only expecting 20 or so people, so it ended up being just enough desserts!

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Mini almond and orange cupcakes with buttercream roses.

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Strawberry and rose truffles. I absolutely LOVED these babies, and they were so easy to make. Not gonna lie, I left a few of these at my house to snack on….

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Coconut cake pops and mango-peach marshmallow lollipops. The marshmallow lollipops turned out a little more difficult to make than I remember, but they came out really cute and pretty damn delicious so I’m proud of them!

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Lemon sugar cookies that say “je t’aime.” Cute and simple!

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Vanilla pate a choux. Another simple flavor, but just a good, comforting dessert. I left some of these at home for me too, hahaha.

I’ve also spent the last couple of weeks making gumpaste peonies for the wedding cake, and they’re finally finished! The colors are a little dark in the pictures because the gumpaste needs a few more days to dry, but here’s a few progression shots for ya’.

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Lil’ buds

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The first layer of petals

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Second layer

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Third layer. Lookin’ good so far!

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Fourth layer, getting too big for the egg carton!

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A finished peony; my babies are all grown up! I’m pretty proud of how these turned out. I don’t have TOO much experience making gumpaste flowers and I’ve never made peonies before, so these ended up being a lot of work and trial and error. In total it took me almost 3 weeks to finish all of these (this includes drying time and all the breaks I took in between for work and the dessert buffet, haha), but I would definitely say it was worth it.

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It’s kinda hard to see all the veining in there, but it’s there! The flowers are super delicate, so here’s hoping they actually make it to the wedding. Hope you all enjoyed my very pink post, and look forward to more!

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Crafts, DIY, Wedding

Wedded Bliss Part 2: The Invitations

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Yesterday Robert and I finally sent out our wedding invitations, and we couldn’t be more excited. Robert’s mom kindly offered to make them for us, and we gladly accepted! I love the look of the craft paper with the doily and the type-writer key stamp; it really brings out the vintage/antique-y theme we were going for.

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While I didn’t make the invitations myself, I decided I wanted to add a little bit of my touch to them so I took some of our engagement photos and arranged them neatly into a little 4×6 picture that I slipped into the envelop with the invites. I just got them copied through Costco and for 70 copies it only cost me 10 bucks!

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Cute, right? Since I couldn’t find any envelop seals I liked, I just bought a fluted circle cutter and cut the shapes out of some pink damask scrapbook paper and glued them down. Overall we’re both really pleased by how the invitations turned out, and now all we have to do is wait for the RSVPs!

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Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Jewelry, Knitting

Jewelry Making and a Quick DIY Wire-Knit Necklace

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After seeing all the amazing hand-made jewelry listed on Etsy, I knew I wanted to try my hand at making some of my own. When Black Friday sparked this year’s holiday shopping, I had a bit of sparkle envy; all these amazing pieces of bling were on sale but I still couldn’t afford it, what with all the money we still need to save for the wedding and all.

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I knew for my first couple of pieces I wanted to make something classy that I could wear on an everyday basis, but also something very simple that I could actually do from start to finish. So what’s more classy than pearls? The necklace pictured in the first image is just a simple I-cord with freshwater pearls woven into it as you knit; it can also be wrapped around the wrist and worn as a bracelet. This second image is just a very basic twisted bracelet, also strung with freshwater pearls. For these pieces I used 24 gauge wire, which is slightly thicker than what you would normally use for knitting wire but I think the thicker wire looks a lot better and less fragile.

DIY I-cord Wire-knit Necklace

What you’ll need:

12 metres of 24 gauge gold-tone wire

2 US size 2 (2.75mm) double-sided knitting needles (I used bamboo needles to keep the wire from sliding off)

about 20-30 freshwater pearls or beads of your choice (my finished piece had 22)

Some sort of clasp closure (I suggest a lobster claw)

Wire cutters

Leather finger guards (optional, but they definitely help)

String 30 pearls onto your wire. Loosely cast on 5 stitches using the backwards-loop cast-on, making sure to leave a tail of at least 5 inches. Continue knitting as you would knit an I-cord: knit one row, then slide your piece down to the other end of the needle and bring the wire around the back, and continue knitting in this fashion. I added the pearls very randomly, around 1 or 2 for every inch. To add your pearls to the piece, slide one of the pearls up the wire and place between the needles when you make your next stitch, holding it it place. As you knit, every couple of rows you want to stretch your piece a little, just to keep the cord at an even width along the necklace.  When you have about 6 inches of wire left, remove needle and string your wire through all 5 stitches twice, then pull together. Use the tails on each end to attach your clasp, then weave in the ends of your wire as you would with yarn, making sure the end finishes on the top (right side) of the piece so that it doesn’t scratch your skin.

Happy knitting and enjoy your new bling!

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Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Knitting

First Knit of the Season

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After seeing Frankie Hearts Fashion‘s white sequined sweater top, I knew I had to make one of my own. I loved the low-cut back and the cream color that kept it looking very classy.

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I know it looks small, but this piece took almost an eternity to finish (okay, so closer to a month, but it felt like an eternity!). I modified this Berroco tank top pattern so that it uses smaller needles and so that the back is cut a few inches lower than the front, which is where most of the mishaps occurred, but nevertheless, I am thoroughly satisfied with this piece! Also, instead of sewing on sequins after I finished knitting it (because lord knows I don’t have another month to spare) I decided to use an ivory yarn that had just a touch of shimmer running through it.

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I know that crop tops are probably best left for summer, but I think this makes a perfect pair with the vintage high-waisted pants I found at the thrift store, so I couldn’t be happier! Winter in SoCal doesn’t always call for a heavy sweater anyway, and this one provides a nice touch of warmth without being overbearing. So if you’re a knitter, definitely check out Berroco’s free pattern library, or if you’re just into fashion, take a look at frankieheartsfashion.

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And here’s a sneak preview of my next knit; I still have a whiles to go, but the pattern is a bit simpler than the last one, so here’s hoping it’ll take me less time, haha. Happy knitting!

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Art, Crafts, Places

Beachy Keen

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I don’t think I could ever live anywhere but southern California. I would just miss the beaches, the people, everything, way too much. All summer Robert and I have been hopping to different beaches; Corona del Mar, Huntington, Encinitas, all just a drive away. And it never gets boring.

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Another view of the waters of Corona del Mar.

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And another painting by yours truly. It turned out a tad more cutesy than I would have wanted at first, but hey, I’m working on it! Still like it though, haha.

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Keep swimming and you’ll get there, friend….

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