Monday, December 21, 2015

Charisma Infinity Cowl and Hat

I made this set for a friend as her Christmas gift this year. I knew what I wanted to make for her, but hadn't settled on an exact pattern until after I found the yarn.

I found six skeins of Charisma Heather in Light Gray at the Michaels closest to me and knew the color would be perfect! While the color was perfect, it also turned out to be hard to come by. The six I purchased were the only ones I could find anywhere. I searched other stores and online retailers to no avail. While this wasn't enough yarn for several patterns I liked, it appeared it would be enough for the pattern Michaels has. While their information seems to suggest only 3 skeins are needed, the cowl actually took more than 5 to complete. Fortunately, I was able to make the hat out of what was left of the sixth skein. Here are the directions for the hat.

She seems to like it and I will definitely be making this again!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Skull-Themed Breakfast

It is that time of year again! It has been quite the year - with surgery, being unable to walk, and physical therapy. I have been crafting during that time, but it appears I never posted about any of it. I will certainly have to remedy that in the coming year! I did spend quite a bit of my recovery time planning what I wanted to do for my breakfast day at work this year. Unfortunately, everything I had in my Amazon cart was removed before I could order because it all sold out. What I eventually ended up with is actually "Plan D!" It seemed to go over well, though, and I was quite pleased with it.

I honestly don't remember how I ended up deciding on skulls in the first place. Of course, pain meds may have something to do with that!! I do remember choosing to stay with black and white colors once I found this image. To get the image large enough to fit my tray, I ordered it as a 12x18 print from Costco, though I ended up having to trim off the words to fit. It was a perfect tray for the bagels, which is the one breakfast item I have to include. Michael's had the perfect bowls to hold the cream cheese and, since I couldn't start shopping until I was allowed to walk and drive again on September 1, I got them half off.

Normally, I wouldn't think the beginning of September was too late to shop for Halloween, but it appears to be. The white pumpkin I bought was the very last one - and I checked tons of stores trying to find another. Although this isn't what I originally wanted to do, I am happy with how the pumpkin turned out and I can always use it again. I also found the perfect plates and napkins at Michaels, along with a few other things to decorate with.

Some of the projects came out better than others, but using silicone molds to shape the cheese opens up all kinds of possibilities. The directions were here and worked really well. The molds I used were from the dollar store, but it sure sounds awful when I say I molded the cheese! Halloween Cheetos had to be included, of course, and I really love them. Since this was a breakfast, eggs were a must. The spiderweb eggs require a lot more black food coloring than you think. I put in way more than I thought I would need and the lines still came out blue. I also left them in too long and the dye started to leave blobs in spots. My daughter is in culinary school and she suggested using beet juice and it would come out black - maybe I should have listened! The mini skull cake pan seemed perfect for chocolate zucchini muffins and pumpkin muffins. I sprinkled powdered sugar on the pumpkin skulls. I was especially happy with the Rice Krispie skull. It took a full batch in each half of the pan. I used fondant instead of modeling chocolate because there are a couple coworkers with chocolate allergies. Isn't that heartbreaking?! Chocolate is my main addiction, so there was certainly chocolate available, but plenty of things without. I don't think anybody went hungry!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween Breakfast for Staff

When I got transferred back to Stuckey this year, I was asked to sign up for Halloween as my breakfast day. The staff breakfast I did two years ago was a big hit and everyone wanted me to do it again. Of course, if you know me, you know that I just can't do the exact same thing twice! I started the first week of school and had a great time planning what I was going to do.
Bagels are a given, and the big cauldron works well to hold them all. I debated on how to do the cream cheese, as I really liked the skull I did before, but finally decided to spread it on a round plate and decorate it to look like Jack Skellington. I used black cake decorator gel, but I wouldn't do it that way again. It doesn't spread out very well. Next time I would add black food coloring to some of the cream cheese or even try melted chocolate. I found black food color markers and drew similar faces on mini Babybel cheeses, too.
I was really excited about making homemade donuts to serve! I found some great recipes on Pinterest. The chocolate one was the best and I found it here. I did have trouble with the glaze, though. My test batches all used Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips and worked great. I tried using milk chocolate chips, and they just didn't work out for the glaze. Not sure what would happen if I tried a different brand. I love my donut pans and the donuts themselves were quite popular. I did use Halloween sprinkles instead of the chopped chocolate for the top. I am not a big fan of eating sprinkles, so I didn't use a whole lot. Half the donuts were a different recipe that is here.
Eyeball cookies are a favorite for my family, so I knew I would need to make those again. I first made these when my kids were little and their school had a haunted house every year. My granddaughters tried them this year and they loved them, too! I also made dark chocolate spiders and chocolate covered caramel apples.
The jello worms came out great, but didn't really get eaten. (Just like the jello brain two years ago!) I also layered a vase with candy and Halloween peeps, but only the large items on top were taken. Way too many leftovers for that project!!
I made pumpkin muffins, since it is a breakfast, but used cream cheese frosting on some so I could decorate them for Halloween. I wanted to make them look like a vampire bit into them, but cream cheese frosting is the wrong consistency for that. Fortunately, I had some candy knives and red decorator gel. The mummy oreos were cute, too, and I lucked out when I found the cupcake/cake pop stand on clearance! I made the potion bottles a couple years ago.
My favorite part of the setup this year was definitely the paper mache! We did the pumpkins in art class and that inspired me to use the same materials to make the witch's shoes. I knew I was using the shoes for the table legs and needed them sturdy enough for that, but I can't wait to experiment with some fancier ones. I will admit, though, I was surprised by how many people didn't notice the table legs until someone else pointed them out.
I had a second table set up to hold the paper products, beverages, bagel slicer, and a cutting board for the apples. It also gave me the opportunity to show more pumpkins! Hopefully, everyone enjoyed it. Now to start planning my table for the ladies Christmas Tea.....