Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tatting! Yes!

Today, I finally allowed myself to something non-school related, since, this week, I finished my English abstract, History notes for the final, History Honors paper, and a few extra things. The only thing I need to do for the rest of the semester is study Algebra (not a big deal) and finish my English Honors paper (1 page left. Easy.).

Needless to say, I was going to be CREATIVE! First thing I did was finish an itty bitty, crochet doily.

Beautiful yellow thread that I got a while back but didn't allow myself to use until there were no more educational obligations. The pattern is, of course, from 99 Little Doilies, my favorite. I've been using a smaller hook than usual. After completing the pattern (I don't actually choose the pattern specifically, I just look for one with very few rows and surprise myself.), I realized that I had done the pattern before in red with a bigger hook and same size thread. Here's the size comparison. Ridiculous, right?! They both actually look fine, but I like the tight look that the small hook gives.

Then I worked on this little beauty. Another new thread. After beginning the pattern, which was again a surprise, I remembered that I don't like it very much because of all the open space on the outer rows. So I made up my own pattern for the last two rows, drawing on ideas from the yellow doily above. Turned out pretty cute.

After all that crocheting, I decided I was ready to tat for the first time in a while. Not only did I want to tat, but I wanted to design. Ceremoniously, I prepared the area.

Supplies: Thread, shuttles, findings, beads, buttons, notebook, a page of ideas that I so thankfully wrote out forever ago.

Decided on my colors and picked out coordinating supplies.

Sketched my idea. Not the prettiest drawing I've ever seen....

Used two shuttles, something I rarely do, which you can probably tell from my hideous ring. Not sure why there's such a big space. On both  sides, nonetheless. Step one of idea complete.

Threaded the loose threads with beads, then swung them over.

See how I put the picots in beads?? I've never done that before! I looooove how it looks. For so long, I saw it all over blogs and didn't know how to attempt it. Also, see that space? How do I avoid that? I have no idea what I did wrong. As for beads, how do you thread them over the picots? I just wet it and pinched it, then forced it through with a little effort. Pretty sure there's a specific way you're supposed to do it.

Final product! Ta-da! I'm hoping those spaces aren't too noticeable. I really hate that I couldn't even prevent it totally the second time around, so I just stretched the one okay-side to make it even(ha).

I'm working on something else tatted that is VERY cool. The first part is complete. Now i just need to perfect it. Will post this week.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cheating at Cake

Before I say anything else, thank you for the encouraging comments about my school situation! I promise to keep quiet about that for a while... Haha. :)

Today is my boyfriend's birthday. What do you get the man who has everything? I couldn't think of anything besides food, so that's the route I took. If you've met me, you know that I never. stop. talking. Not only that, but I've got a big mouth. With kindness in my heart, I make a lot of promises. Don't get me wrong, I always keep my promises, but I happened to promise said boyfriend that I would make him a birthday cake.


"ANIKA!" I thought, "WHEN are you going to find the time to do that?!" Upcoming finals, exams, two research papers, a presentation. Time is ever-fleeting.

But then I remembered something I read on a blog post. You can buy undecorated cakes and pretend that you made them. Brilliant. That's what I did.

Mmmmm vanilla with buttercream frosting. I ordered it from Stater Bros. for only $8. The woman even made sure not to put a label on the box so I could pretend I made it.  

I got these at Joann. Everything was inexpensive, plus I had a few 50% off coupons. The pearl sprinkles are wonderful, but, just a warning, they don't feel too great on your teeth!

Just one problem. I forgot to get a Wilton tip set, so I had to figure something out at the last minute. 

I cut some plastic tips from the grocery store. They were dirt cheap and did the job fine. Came in a set of 4.

Almost started crying. That sooooo doesn't look good..... 

Some nice puffs around the edges. Looking better.

Black petals where I'll put the roses and cover my boo-boos. 

Placed the roses. Looking a ton better.

I put little pearls in the middle of each spiral. 

Then added a trim of black pearls around the edges. 


It turns out cake decorating is hard stuff. Not too bad for my first "serious" attempt. The spirals would have been much better if only I had remembered to get the correct tips, or, you know, actually knew what I was doing. 

For the actual meal, I made ceviche. 

Shrimp, green bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, green onions, parsley, cilantro, pepper. I had the shrimp "cooking" in lemon juice overnight. 

I don't eat this type of thing, so I was a little grossed out by the tiny creatures. 

Even though this isn't my thing, I know when something looks pretty! Hurrah! 

Side note: OH my goodness cilantro smells terrible! Why did no one ever tell me this? I have no problem working with vegetables or foods I don't like at all, but cilantro pushed me over the edge. I had to throw it out. I didn't even put a tiny bit in the ceviche. It doesn't smell rotten, more like money with an undertone of herbs. Strange. 

None of this exists anymore. The birthday-boy was very happy. According to him, the ceviche was delicious and the cake was both beautiful and delectable  I had a slice of the cake. It was very good. I didn't want to take credit for something I didn't do so I fessed up that cake and buttercream frosting layer was made by someone much more skilled than I. He didn't mind. 

Good day!