Friday, June 5, 2020

Twinkle Lights Perspective

Most of the little chores on my to-do list were wrapped up yesterday, and my summer education workshop begins next Monday. I've been learning a lot about shared and unshared histories and present-days like many of you this week, which has been emotionally draining and oh-so-necessary. I decided to take a break this morning to do a little something for myself in my crafty nook.

I thought I'd just be putting up twinkle lights in the window and across the cubbies of yarn, and doing a little dusting.  I know... twinkle lights?  I've loved them for so long, but cannot bring myself to go all out Christmas-in-June-Instead-of-July because... I just can't.  There's a glimmer of hope in the back of my mind that December will be a happier, healthier time, and more peaceful to boot, so I want to keep holiday magic off in the distance and something to which I can look forward.  Also, nothing feels terribly celebratory at the moment.  I just need some... softness.

I ended up shifting my craft table, card catalog, green chairs and side table too, nothing difficult or strenuous.  This weekend when I work with some jewelry assemblage pieces, I'll be able to see out of the window instead of looking directly at the same desk and wall that I sat at for hours on end, March through May, for "continuous learning."

I needed a change, nothing drastic, just a slightly different view.  I made sure to tuck my classroom materials away, all except for my rainbow pointer because it just looks at home in my tool carousel. I put up the twinkle lights and pulled out some small drawers full of jewelry bits and bobs. I found my copy of The Jewelry Recipe Book and I listened to Bon Iver's RABi on repeat.


It was a good morning.




I know, I know, I need to make a throw rug for those fun mystery spots on the floor.  They're not wet, they don't smell, and I haven't got a clue.

But I've got yarn... and twinkle lights... and a fresh perspective.  I can remedy this problem.

*****

We can remedy this one:

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Cookie Baking Tutorial for Janay

Oh Janay, I didn't forget about your request for a cookie baking tutorial!  Here's a slideshow, with the recipe and directions following below:



The cookie recipe I like to use is a version of the "famous department store" recipe published years ago. It's got a great base for different add-ins: you can make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, or cinnamon raisin spice oatmeal cookies, or oatmeal with macadamia nuts and craisins... with oatmeal being a constant.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, and line baking sheets with parchment paper (NOT foil).

Ingredients:

2 sticks of butter, salted or un; room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of pressed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp salt

Mix the above together until it begins to resemble the texture of frosting.

Add and mix:

2 cups quick oats
1 cup chocolate chips (or a bit more)
1 cup pecan pieces

 OR

2 cups quick oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup M&M baking minis

OR

2 cups quick oats
1 cup chocolate chips (or a bit more)
1 cup shredded coconut (which will make the cookies VERY sweet)

Mix until the cookie dough sticks to the mixer paddle, cleaning much of the sides of the bowl. The dough will still feel sticky to the touch (especially if it's a humid day) but should NOT be wet. I use a cookie scoop (like a mini ice-cream scoop) to measure out similarly sized blobs of dough.

I have large cookie sheets that easily hold fifteen cookie balls (or more, depending upon the recipe) each, so after I smooth each blob out (I don't try to compress or hard-pack the dough) I place it on the sheet and gently press it down. I don't want it flat like a pancake, just flat enough to keep it from rolling.

I bake the dough for 11-13 minutes (depends on how hot my oven is running, or if it reheats mid-bake) and remove the pan from the oven to cool for five minutes on a rack. The cookies are still puffed up or inflated looking at this point: they flatten out and firm up as they cool. After five or more minutes, I remove each cookie from the sheet and put them on the lower levels of the cooling rack to finish hardening.

Then it's time to INHALE, er, "taste-test" a cookie.


(These were oatmeal/chocolate chip/M&M baking minis cookies.)

*****

I hope this helps!  Happy cookie-baking!

~Michaele~

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Last Year's Resolution: Afghan Review

Last New Year's Eve I made my first-in-a-long-time resolution, to crochet one afghan per month

How did I do?


January:



February:


March:


April:


May:


June:

July:


August:

September:


October:


November:


... and December:


There were also these:






I even made a little beagle blankie:


None of the afghans would have been possible without the aid of my two helpers, Tish-Tish and Buck who regularly offered their supervisory talents throughout the year:




There's another afghan in progress on the couch that I started in December, so I've already got a head start on this year's crochetpalooza as I'm still feeling very inclined to keep up production.  My favorite patterns so far have been the log cabin (February, April and the pink/red/gray/white color block) and virus (all those pretty scallop-ey blankets), but I'm also looking forward to working another waffle stitch (August) and more stars in the months to come.

2019's resolution was a productive one, making it possible to give a bit of myself to special friends and family, which has meant ever so much after last year's health adventures and my recent fiftieth birthday.  

Who else has made a resolution to focus on creative pursuits?

Monday, October 28, 2019

It's the Little Things

I forgot to mention in my last blogpost that I found the sweetest addition to my papercrafting tool collection at Junkstock...

A paper cutter!  Isn't it cute?



What do you mean, you "don't get it?"

How about now?


No?  How about ~now~:


It's so small!  It's a MINI paper cutter! And oh yes, it REALLY does cut, just as well as my standard-sized one:


It really can be the little things that make a person happy.


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Junkstock with Jodi, 2019

Somehow between rounds of a tummy bug and a six-day-flu battle, I managed to score enough healthy days to spend a weekend with my lifelong friend, Jodi, at Junkstock 2019.  Catching up, enjoying some laughter and discovering new-to-us treasures, we couldn't help but revel in the hours where we could escape our responsibilities, chores, and worries.

Adulting can be hard, right?  This is where pumpkin houses, Volkswagons decorated with mums and lots of creative vendors come to the rescue:










We found some nods to our shared Alaska history:





Our musical demographic was well-represented too (name that song!):


And seasonal goodies could be found 'round every corner:




I treated myself to a wood and leather watch (don't worry, I eventually took the protective plastic cover off of the face):


... and Jodi and I bought ourselves some sweet and even sassy treasures for home (our "Ew, People" and "Suck it up, Buttercup" shirts ROCK, despite me somehow missing taking photos of them):









Here's to the next thirty-five years of our friendship, Jodums.  I love you.


Thank you, Junkstock!