Monday, December 26, 2011

Gift Spotlight

I don't usually talk about gifts I've received, but I thought some of you might appreciate what my boyfriend got me for Christmas - some of the prettiest knitting needles ever! (Got to love significant others that feed your crafting habits.)

Image borrowed from KnitPicks
He got me the Options Interchangeable Harmony Wood Circular Knitting Needle Set from KnitPicks. I have been eyeing these needles for years and finally I can call them my own! They are just as pretty in person and possibly the smoothest wood needles I've ever touched. They're very nice, I can't wait to start knitting with them!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Crafting Complete!

Happy Christmas, everyone! I have gotten so much done in the past few weeks! Christmas is here and I was pretty excited to give away my handmade gifts.

First up is my milk liqueur, which I finally finished straining Wednesday. If you ever plan on making this, plan on letting it strain for about 24 hours. The milk gets very thick and leaves a very thick film on the coffee filters, so I found it was best to do a little at a time and replace the filter after each small pour. It takes a while, but man, the finished product is totally worth it.

Milk Liqueur - Day 11

As you can see, it's become a nice golden color and it tastes amazing. I can't really pick up the mint, but the chocolate and milk really stand out. (I'll have to find out another way to get the mint flavor in, I'll experiment with that in my next batch.) It's a really creamy liqueur and either because of the chocolate or the vodka (I used 80 proof), it warms you right up when you drink it. It's very good on its own, but it'd probably be a nice addition to some hot chocolate or coffee. Mixing it with some milk is actually pretty tasty as well.

Next are my two knitted projects for my boyfriend, M. He'd asked for a hat like Jayne's from Firefly a while back, so I found a pretty simple pattern on Ravelry and knit one up. After knitting up the first one, though, I wasn't sure if it would fit him, so I had him try it on. (He had his eyes closed, but he knew what it was. Smart guy!) Sadly the XL size was a little too small (considering it fit my head perfectly, I knew it would be), so I made a second, larger version. (I forgot to take a picture, so I'll have to share that a little later.) I added 8 more stitches to the hat and that did the trick. Also this means I have a spare hat, which means I guess I've got one for myself now unless I can think of someone else that would appreciate it.

I also made M a scarf! I do not typically make a lot of scarves anymore because they take forever and I have very little patience, but this scarf surprisingly knit up pretty fast! I used my favorite wool again, Patons Classic Wool, so even though it's not a tightly knit scarf, it's still plenty warm. M also gets hot easily, so I didn't want to make something so thick he'd be uncomfortable.

Scarf for Michael 1

I also got this pattern off of Ravelry. (Such a great resource, isn't it?) I wanted something simple and masculine and this fit the bill. Grey and blue are M's favorite colors and I added a stripe of green (same green as my Cadence sweater!) as well. Also now that it's blocked, it's a lot longer than it was before and I think it's the perfect length now.

And last but not least is a purse for my friend, C! This is a sort of gift, seeing as how she bought the fabric herself and specifically requested it, but since there were a lot of scraps, so I plan on making her a few extras, such as a headband or two and some cat toys.

Chelsey's Purse 2

I love these purses. They're super easy to make and if they get dirty (which they will, because they're fabric), you can just pop them in the wash. Also they seem to fit everything I need perfectly.

And now that all of my handmade gifts are done, I can spend some time finishing up Cadence and my triangle shawl before I head back to school!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Let the Christmas Crafting Begin!

Finals are done! No more school until January! Let me just say that I'm SO relieved to have this break. This fall has been pretty rough on me because I maxed out on credit hours and...well...that was probably not the best idea. But it's over now and I finally have time to do things I want to do!

To celebrate the end of exams, I started my batch of milk liqueur. Here is what it currently looks like:

Milk Liqueur - Day 1

The recipe (from here):
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
2 cups vodka (I used Smirnoff - the liquor store had a credit card limit and this met it)
2 cup sugar
1/2 lemon
2oz dark chocolate

I also added some fresh mint leaves. I wanted to make the liqueur a little more "holiday" and mint is an easy way to do that. I hope I put enough in so that you can taste it. If it doesn't, maybe next time I'll try crushing them a little first and add a few more leaves. I also want to try making a chai version, but I don't know how much of each spice to add yet, so I'll have to experiment with that later.

So now I just have to wait 10 days! I'll shake it once a day until then and then it'll be ready to strain. I'm planning on getting small canning jars (or mini bottles if I can find them - know any sources?) and then decorating the lids with some Christmas themed fabric and some ribbon. I can't wait to taste it!

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Design

I changed things around a bit design-wise. Hopefully I'll also be changing things around with how often I post. Once I get done with my last few exams, maybe I'll share some of what I've been doing this quarter.