Friday, April 29, 2011

Baby Blankets

My family has been blessed in the past year to welcome 2 very special babies.  Consequently, I have been busy knitting baby blankets!  I ventured out from hats and scarves in September to make my first baby blanket ever, and I even created my own pattern!  This blanket was made for my cousin's baby, a really sweet little boy with the cutest smile.

Since I knew this baby's name ahead of time, I was able to create a pattern with his first initial, A.

This blanket was very simple and I was able to finish it in a little over a week.  When choosing a yarn, I wanted something that was really soft but also easy to take care, a.k.a., machine washable and can go in the dryer.  The yarn I ended up using was Red Heart Soft Baby Steps, Baby Blue.  I tend to use a lot of wool and wool blends when making adult hats, but for a baby, it's really important to use something that is easy to care for, and this yarn is 100% acrylic.

When I knit this blanket, I used straight needles, but I would definitely use a circular needle next time.  The second blanket I knit, I used a circular needle and it made a huge difference, especially as the blanket got longer and heavier!  I have linked the instructions and pattern if you would like to make this blanket.

During the past few months, I spent a lot of time knitting a blanket for my new nephew.  Of course my brother and sister-in-law didn't have a name picked out ahead of time, so I couldn't make another initial blanket.  After searching through many patterns, I finally decided on this one from Bernat.

This is the blanket I knit on the circular needle.  The pattern was a lot more involved and called for smaller needles, so it took a lot longer for me to complete this one!  I highly recommend a stitch counter to keep track of the pattern.  I love how it came out, although I forgot to take pictures of the finished product.  Fortunately, these pictures (from my phone!) really show the pattern.  I used Plymouth Yarn Encore, Col. 1201.  This yarn is 25% wool and 75% acrylic and is also machine washable and tumble dry.

I really enjoyed making these snuggly little blankets for my baby cousin and nephew.  I am looking forward to starting some new knitting projects over the summer.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beach-themed Shower Favors

I don't think that I've mentioned that as of April 4th, I am an Auntie!!  I have a perfect little nephew, and he is amazing.  My brother and sister-in-law are both very out-doorsy types and love the beach.  I co-hosted a baby shower at a cute little restaurant, and one of the things I was responsible for was the favors.  I looked into having beachy sugar cookies made at a bakery, but found that they would run between $3-4 each!!  So, I took matters into my own hands, and created these:

They are fancy Rice Krispy Treats!  I purchased these cute cookie cutters from Sur la Table (they have a fantastic selection).

I was worried that it the treats would stick to the cookie cutters, but using a little non-stick spray helped them to pop out like a dream.

I put the treats on waxed paper lined refrigerator shelves so they would cool completely.  Then I mixed these green and white candy melts together to get a pretty shade of light green.

I dipped each cutout into the melted candy to coat the top and put them back into the fridge to speed the setting process along.

I used white decorator icing to add Mommy-to-be's initial and some finishing touches.

They turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself!

Each treat was packaged in a cellophane bag, and tied with the cutest ribbon (darling little onsies!!).

The favors looked adorable on the tables and were pretty tasty, too!  Thanks go out to Julie for letting me use her kitchen!

And for kicks and giggles, here is a picture of the most adorable (and delicious) cake from the Great Dane Bakery in Huntington Beach.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Springtime is Blooming!

Well, it has been almost 2 months since my first post, so as for my plan to post!  This has been a very busy few months.  I've had a lot of projects, papers and homework for school this semester.  Plus, I was a knittin' fool trying to finish the baby blanket for my sister-in-law's shower.  And being sick for 2 weeks didn't help me either.  But enough excuses - time for my second post!

I wanted to bring a little life into the house during the winter and early spring, while the grass outside is still brown and the trees are leafless.  So, I purchased some paperwhite bulbs, some small river stones and gathered up some pretty glass vases.

I filled the bottom of my hurricane and vases with a layer of river stones, and nestled the bulbs in.  I then added enough water to cover the bottom of the bulbs.

After about a week, I was excited to come downstairs one morning, and see this:

Yay!  The tiniest bit of growth!  This was a promising sign and I really enjoyed checking the growth progress daily.  A couple of weeks later, my bulbs looked like this:

And before I knew it, the first buds started to blossom.

And a few days later, I was greeted with these little guys:

And then...I went out of town for 10 days.  I was worried about my paperwhites not having enough water while I was gone.  So I gave them a little extra before I left.  When I returned home, I was greeted by a veritable jungle of very long green stems and several flower blossoms.  They were a bit out of control, and probably needed to be transplanted into soil.  But, as a novice at forcing bulbs, I kept them in their glass enclosures too long.  And, as a novice blogger, I neglected to take any more pictures!  And thus ends the story of my paperwhite bulbs!

I do plan to try this again next year, and hopefully successfully transplant these little beauties so they can continue to grow and flourish.  In other news, the bulbs that I planted outside have been blooming!  They are lovely and have survived some spring snowstorms and plenty of wind.  I'll try and get some pictures to post - they are so colorful and pretty!