Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Cupcakes

Here's a fun idea if you want to make spring themed cupcakes. I made these for the annual Relief Society birthday party earlier this month and these three were the only cupcakes left. I forgot to take a picture of my 'field' of cupcakes which was really cool, take my word on that!

I had inside knowledge about the colors they were using for decorations (blue and green) since I helped a little with the decorating. I wanted to do something a little different than the standard iced (boring) cupcake. I use food coloring gels for my icing, in case you were wondering.

I started with Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake from Betty Crocker for the 'dirt.'

I used my standard butter cream recipe:


¾ cup butter
¾ cup shortening
4 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1/3 cup water

In large mixer bowl, combine butter shortening and powdered sugar, beat until very creamy. Add lemon juice and vanilla; mix until well blended. Add water and mix until very light.

The filling was my Amaretto whipped cream.

I made this grass using Wilton's tip #233. Here's the technique.

I used tip #103 for the flowers. This was the first time I'd made flowers so I thought they turned out pretty good considering.

And they were a hit, of course!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Make Your Own Knitted Hat Patterns: Diamond Lace Baby Hat

My creative projects have been on hold as of late because of the recent birth of my son, so this is my first post-partem finished project! I had been looking at a few patterns in one of my pattern books and I saw a diamond pattern I thought might make a cute baby hat. The thing about patterns in books though, is that they are meant for straight needles, so the pattern on the left side and right side are different (and in more complex patterns the even numbered rows are more than just purl around and have to be reversed to be knit in the round). This pattern also started in the middle of the diamond pattern (making a triangle at the beginning of the pattern). Why would I want to do that, book?! So I had to start in the middle of their pattern to start mine. Nothing's ever easy.

Anyways, my pattern ended up as below (see chart). The pattern is based on a repeating 8 stitch pattern, so I cast on 64 sts on a size 7 circular needle (I used a sport weight baby yarn). I did a k 2, p 2 rib for the brim (about 6 rows or approx. 1 inch). I knit two rows plain before starting the pattern. After finishing with the lace pattern, I knit every row until the work measured approx. 5 inches. Then I switched to dpn and started the decreases: first decrease row was *k 6, k 2 tog* repeat around; then k one row; then *k 5, k 2 tog* repeat around; k one row; then decrease every row, continuing the pattern (*k 4, k 2 tog* repeat around, *k 3, k 2 tog* repeat around, etc), until you have 4 sts left. Pull the yarn through these stitches and gather. Weave in all ends.

A tip: double decrease is slip one, k 2 tog, pass slipped stitch over. And every even row is a knit row.

Hat shown is about 1-3 month size.

The hat turned out alright I think. Admittedly it turned out smaller than I intended and I also didn't expect it to be so feminine. Unfortunately, I only have one baby for a model, so that's my son modelling this girly hat. *le sigh*

Friday, March 4, 2011

Shirt Alterations

A friend of mine came to me a few weeks ago and asked me if I'd be willing to make some alterations to three shirts she had bought for her daughter's upcoming mission. Two of them had sheer sleeves and the other was one of those really long button up shirts that need to be six inches shorter.

Now, I've never done any alterations before but I looked at the shirts and I decided that yes, I could do it despite having zero experience. So, I accepted the challenge and did an exceptional job - if I do say so myself.

The first thing I did was the new hem since it was the easiest and I've done some hemming before on the dresses I made for the girls. I did have to figure out how to replicate the curve at the bottom of the shirt but that turned out to be not too hard at all.

And then came the sleeves. I wouldn't say I was dreading it, but I definitely wasn't looking forward to possible total failure. Thankfully I have a certain book to help me out a bit on where to begin.

I had to make a pattern that would match the existing sleeve. I took some measurements and made a sketch of what it should look like. Then I made an actual sized version on paper, which I then cut (as you can see in the picture) to add room for gathers. I added 1/4 an inch between the pieces when I laid them out on the pattern making material and added about 1/4 an inch on the top and bottom where I had the gathers. I finished the pattern by adding 5/8 of an inch sewing allowance around.

Then I made a test sleeve.

And it was perfect.

I can't tell you how good it feels to get it right the first time.

From there I cut out the real sleeves and sewed them in as a lining.Voila!

You can see the new lining below, hiding in the sleeve. And I pulled the lining out a little bit.

And there you have it. My first attempt at clothing alterations which turned out to be highly successful.