A Knook Hat

I finally finished my first knook project!  I made a hat.

Knook Hat

In case you’re wondering what a knook is… see my previous post with my knook review.

It does take some time to get used to using the knook, it was slow going at the first.  However, once I got used to it, I could speed up a bit, and I think it turned out quite nicely in the end.  Here’s a close shot of the lacing in the hat:

Knook Hat

The pattern came from a book by Leisure Arts, called Urban Hats for the Knook.  I’m looking forward to trying some of the more complicated patterns, and maybe trying to make up some of my own!

99 Red Slippers

I didn’t actually make 99.  I made 16 pairs of red, and 3 pairs of green.


I did take a picture of all 19 pairs, but it got accidentally deleted, so I just have this one mobile picture of the first two pairs that I made.  I found the pattern on this website.

This post isn’t exactly about slippers, it’s about taking a big project on.  In September, my friend asked me to make these slippers for her wedding in December, and I told her that I’d be glad to.  This brings me to point number 1:

  1. Giving yourself enough time to get a project done or giving the person you’re hiring enough time to get the project done.  You should know what speed that you can work.  You’ve also got to factor in things like taking breaks from your project, and allowing for other things going on in your life.  Sitting down, from start to finish, I could make 1 slipper in 2.5 hours.  So technically, I could do one a day, but with other commitments, I could make about 2 pairs per week.  This meant that I could probably finish in 9 or 10 weeks.  However, with Christmas craft sales, I took most of November off, so I was still knitting right up until the deadline.
  2. Availability of materials.  I used Red Heart Light & Lofty for the yarn.  For the most part, it’s pretty easy to find.  However, there were a few weeks when it was sold out at my local store.  If you can purchase all you need for your project, you should.  I was on a bit of a tight budget, and could only buy a skein or two at a time.
  3. Give yourself a break!  If you’re constantly working on the same thing over and over, you will get bored with it.  Allow yourself to take a break to work on something else so you will still have joy in your project.

In the end, I’m glad that I took it on.  It was very satisfying to hand over a huge bag of slippers to my friend.  Plus, it will probably be a pattern that will be stuck in my head until the end of time… meaning the slippers will probably end up as gifts for others in the future.

Fruit Pizza

I was making some sugar cookies to go along with a birthday cake that I was making today, and I realized that I didn’t want to have a bunch of cookies lying around.  I needed to do something different with the dough.  I took about half of the dough that I was using, and spread it out on my pizza stone.  I baked it at 375º for about 18 minutes, until the edges started to brown.

Sugar Cookie

  After it cooled, I mixed up some vanilla pudding and greek yogourt, and then topped with fruit.  Everyone in the family thought it was pretty darn tasty!  I do, too!

Fruit Pizza

Sugar Cookie Base

  • 2 C flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 C margarine, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 T water (optional)
  1. Beat together the margarine and sugar.  Add in the egg and vanilla and beat well.  Gradually add the flour, salt and baking powder.  If you find it is too dry, you can add the water.
  2. Knead the dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thickness.  If the dough cracks a lot, you will need to wet your hands to moisten the dough.
  4. Bake at 375º for about 18 minutes.

**Note – I used about half of this recipe for the pizza base.  If you want to use the whole recipe, go ahead, but it may not all fit on your pizza pan.  Use the left overs for cookies!

Fruit Pizza

  • Sugar cookie crust, already baked and cooled
  • 1/2 c vanilla pudding (or use one serving of the prepacked pudding, like a Snack Pack)
  • 1/2 c plain Greek yogourt
  • 1 banana
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1/4 c blueberries
  1. Mix together the pudding and the yogourt and spread over the base.
  2. Add your fruit toppings.
  3. If you wish, you could add white chocolate ‘cheese’ to the top of the pizza (shave some white chocolate).  Serve immediately.  Refrigerate what you don’t eat.

Another Sneaky Smoothie Recipe

I’ve told you before that I’m trying to add more fruits and veggies to my diet.  I had another post on adding spinach to your smoothie, and here’s another delicious smoothie recipe!  We had some cooked carrots one night for supper, and there were some left over for the next day, but more than I would take in my lunch.  I decided to experiment, and the results were pretty tasty.  Here’s the recipe!

Carrot Smoothie

Carrot Smoothie

  • 2T cooked carrots
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2 T blueberries
  • 1/4 cup plain yogourt
  • 1/4 cup juice (I used orange)
  • Top up with milk

Blend well.  Serves 1.

I used orange juice with this, because orange and carrot go surprisingly well together.  Whenever we make carrot soup, we add orange juice to use as part of the soup stock.  Yummy yummy!


Hello Kitty Birthday Cake

A friend of mine asked me to make a birthday cake for her daughter’s birthday party.  A purple Hello Kitty cake was requested.  I went to the Bulk Barn, and found that they had the cake pan that I needed for rent (don’t worry, I’ll show you what to do if you can’t find one!), and they also had them for sale at Michael’s.

Cake Pan

These cake pans will hold any regular cake mix that would make a two-layer cake, or one box of cake mix.  The recipe that I used will be at the end of the post.  It’s very important to use a non-stick coating on these pans.  I used Pam for baking, so it already has flour in it, but you can also grease the pan with butter and then add flour.


Now, if you don’t have access to one of these pans, it’s pretty easy to make it yourself.  Make the cake in a 9″x13″ pan, and then cut around the sides to get the same shape face (don’t forget the ears and bow!).


For the tray, I used a large piece of cardboard, wrapped in aluminum foil.  Pretty easy!

Cake Tray

I then frosted the cake according to what the pan suggested, but next time, I’ll do all the white first, and then the rest of the cake.  In case you were wondering, I did add a little of the Wilton white-white colouring to make the white even brighter.


And there it is!  However, I wasn’t done yet…

Sugar Cookies

I wanted to add a little something extra, so I made a batch of sugar cookies.  Actually, a half batch.  I had purchased a set of alphabet cookie cutters from Super Store last summer for $5, and hadn’t used them yet.  I made some ‘Katie’ cookies for the birthday girl, ‘David’ for my boy, some for hubs, and some hugs and kisses for me.

Hello Kitty Birthday Cake

I hope the birthday girl likes it!  Here’s the recipes that I used:

White Cake

  • 1 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.  Add in the vanilla, and the eggs, one at a time.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk, beating well.  Add the remaining and mix again.
  4. Pour into a greased and floured 9″x13″ pan, or one of the molds
  5. Bake at 350° for at least 35 mins, but it make take up to 40.  Cake it ready when a cake tester comes out clean.

You can find the next recipe for icing at Wilton.com.  It’s an easy buttercream to make, dyes easily, and tastes like marshmallows.

Wilton Buttercream Icing

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Cream together the margarine and the shortening.  Add in the vanilla.
  2. Slowly beat in the sugar, about 1 cup at a time.  When all of the sugar has been added, it will appear dry.
  3. Add the milk and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. You can store this in a sealed container for up to two weeks.  Make sure to rewhip before using.

The original recipe called for clear vanilla extract, which I don’t have.  I used my regular vanilla, and then added some white-white colouring to make the white brighter.  For this cake, you’ll want to tint about 1 tablespoons yellow, and about 1/2 cup purple (or red if you want to do the original Hello Kitty).  I didn’t tint any black, instead I bought a tube of the ready to use black icing.  The last time I make black it turned purply/grey, and I wanted black this time.  If you want to use black, tint about 1/4 cup of your frosting black.  The rest you keep white for your kitty’s face.

I hope you enjoyed this, and I hope Katie enjoys her cake!

A Knook Review

What is a knook?  You may be asking.  It’s basically a crochet hook with a hole in the end for a thread to run through.  It’s called a ‘knook’ because you can knit with a crochet hook.  I finally picked it up this weekend, and tried making a hat.  After two hours, this is how far I got:

IMG_6564  That’s about an inch.  It’s been very slow going.  Definitely slower than if I had knit the hat, or even if I decided to crochet.  Here’s what it looks like up close:


You actually are making knit and purl stitches.  And I must say, it is kind of neat having the string attached at the end.  I was following a k2 p1 pattern, and I realized that about 20 stitches ago, I added a purl stitch.  With knitting needles, you have to carefully pick up your stitches again, however, with this, you just rip them out, and they stay on the cord.  Sweet!


I’m making one of the hats from this book:


Hopefully, I finish it within the week, and will be able to show you some pictures of it…

How to Knit or Crochet a Dishcloth



My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was 7, but I didn’t really learn anything besides straight knitting.  So I made a lot of scarves.  The summer after my second year of university, I worked as a historical tour guide at one of our local museums.  When we had down time, we could work on ‘period appropriate crafts’, so I picked up knitting again.  One of the ladies that worked there gave me a pattern for a dishcloth, and taught me how to do the increases and decreases, and I was set.  After that, I could knit almost anything (once I learned how to purl, of course…).  Here’s the pattern for a basic knit dishcloth:

Cast on 4

Row 1: k

Row 2: k2, yo, k2 (yo stands for yo, you just wrap the yarn around and keep going, it makes an increase)

Row 3 and rest of rows: k2, yo, k to end of row

I like to stop once I hit 50 stitches.  Then you start your decreases:

Row 1 decrease: k1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k to end of row (k2tog means you knit two stiches together, it makes a decrease)

I continue until I get 5 stitches, then I k one row, and then bind off.  I find that if I go all the way back down to 4st, it makes the end too pointy.  This makes it more rounded.

I used Bernat Handicrafter Cotton for my dish cloths, and 4.00mm knitting needles.  This gives you a dish cloth that won’t stretch to pieces.

I also used this opportunity to crochet a few dish cloths.  I’ve only been crocheting for a few years, and I’m not great at it, so dish cloths are a great way to practice technique: 


I can’t give you the pattern for the doily one on top, I found it in book put out by Bernat on various dish cloths.  It may be available on their website.  The two in behind are a little easier.  The one of the left is just ch 34, and then sc until you get to 8 inches.  The one on the right is a granny square.

When I first learned to crochet, I had no idea that there was a wrong side.  I made my friend’s daughter a sweater, and thought those lines were supposed to be there.  Oops… this is what the wrong side looks like:


And then the right side:


Old Cheddar and Roasted Red Pepper Grilled Cheese

We really liked a grilled cheese sandwich in our house.  It’s pretty much a Sunday lunch staple, when we’re looking for something quick and easy after church.  And if we’ve been extra good, there’s usually two slices of cheese, one cheddar and one white slice (either white cheddar, or swiss, depending on what’s in the fridge).

However, sometimes you need a change.  I came across this recipe recently for a grilled pimento cheese sandwich, and thought it looked pretty tasty.  Here’s how I made ours!

I took about 1/2c of old cheddar cheese, and pulsed it in the food processor until it looked like this:


Next, I added some roasted red peppers, the equivalent of about 1/4 pepper.  You can roast your own, but for this, I bought a bottle of the pickled red peppers, which are also called ‘pimentos’.  I added them to the food processor next:


Next I added a few cloves of garlic.  We used the bottled, pre-minced garlic, so it was about 4 cloves.  I also added two tablespoons of mayonnaise.  My two-year old also learned how to say ‘mayonnaise’ tonight, and shocked the rest of his family.


Next, you will want to butter the sides of two pieces of bread, and toast them in the frying pan at the same time:


You can then add your cheese mixture:


And voila!  A very tasty and flavourful sandwich.  The two-year old ate more than three-quarters of the sandwich.  He kept saying ‘yummy yummy!’ and ‘num num num’, which is music to a mother’s ears!


How to Make a Delicious, Vitamin-Packed Smoothie

Last year I resolved to eat vegetables for two meals a day, in hopes that I would get somewhere close to the recommended 5+ servings of fruit and veggies a day.  As long as I was eating them twice a day, I was.  Before Christmas, I was finishing up my shopping at the mall, and I stopped at my favourite smoothie and wrap place at the mall, and they had a smoothie with kale and spinach in it.  Gross, right?  I decided to try it, because I was feeling a cold coming on, and figured that I needed the vitamins.  And to my surprise, it was tasty!

I couldn’t remember exactly what was in the smoothie, so I couldn’t exactly recreate it at home, but I picked up a bag of baby spinach, and was prepared to experiment at home.  Here’s the first of the experiments:


Hubs saw the remnants of the various types of fruit on the counter and said “You know, you don’t have to put EVERYTHING in.  It doesn’t always taste good.”  But after his first sip, he became a convert.  Here is essentially what I put in the smoothie (I have changed it a few times, and it’s delicious every time!)

Vitamin-Packed Smoothie

  • 1/2 c baby spinach
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 2 clementines (if you do not like pulpy orange juice, don’t add the oranges… the membranes don’t puree up very well, and you will have pulp)
  • 1/2 c blueberries
  • 1/2 Greek yogourt
  • enough juice or milk to give it a smooth consistence…. usually around 1 cup… I think for this one I put in 1/2 c pomegranate, and 1/2 c milk (depending on your fruit and vegetables you may need to add more or less)
  • 2T of flax seed (optional – flax adds good fat to your smoothie, and also gives it a great fibre boost)

Blend it all in a blender, and you’ve got yourself a delicious smoothie.  It has at least 2 servings of fruit and vegetables, and 1 serving of milk (providing you add both the yogourt and milk).  This mixture made two big glasses full, plus some for the little guy.  He loved it, too.

I plan on experimenting more with vegetables in my smoothies.  I’ll let you know how it goes…

It’s a New Year! (And some resolutions, too…)

Happy new year everyone!

WordPress did a need little ‘year in review’ for me, and I published it, so I hope you check it out!  But here are some highlights from 2012:

Top 5 Recipe Posts:

  1. Crockpot Apple Crisp
  2. Mario and Luigi Cakepops
  3. Pulled Pork Sandwich
  4. Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
  5. Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup

Top 5 Craft Posts:

  1. Knotted Fleece Blanket
  2. Crochet Santa Hat
  3. Crochet Owl Hat
  4. Make your own Money or Gift Card Holders
  5. Toddler Christmas Hats

It’s been a busy year!

Now… are you one to make resolutions?  I can be.  I always try to make them manageable, like the year that I made it my resolution to actually use my cookbooks.  That one was a pretty good success.  Or last year, when we had Meatless Mondays.  We actually lasted a long time with that one.  This year, with me being pregnant, I decided not to do anything involving food or exercise.  Instead… my resolution is to actually use the craft items that I purchased last year.  Yeesh.  Here’s a few of the things that I bought:

Martha Stewart Loom and Weave Kit

The Knook… I bought the beginner kit, plus maybe another book on hats.  I think.  I may have bought two.

Plus countless skeins of yarn, yards of fleece and felt, tubs of beads, etc, etc, etc.  So my resolution this year is to buy as little crafting supplies as possible, and use up some of the things that I’ve got in storage.  Plus to break out the new things that I’ve really only glanced at.  I’ve bookmarked some pretty neat patterns for the loom and the knook and am quite excited to try it!!

However, all that being said, on January 2nd, I put in an order for a sharp crochet hook… oops.  But that’s going to help me use up some of that fleece, right?  Right?