Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An FO you can sink your teeth into....

I have an FO to show you but it's not made of yarn. This is a favorite recipe of mine called Sausage Pinwheels and they are so easy and so fast and people love them. Here's what you do;
Shopping List:
1 roll of hot sausage, (we love Jimmy Dean brand, but ANY brand will do)
2 small packages of Bisquick (or make up a large batch of biscuits per box directions on the large box of Biquick OR make them from scratch if you are so inclined - we like the cheesy garlic Bisquick but these are just as good with plain biscuit mix)
Waxed paper

Mix up the Bisquick per package directions. In this instance, you merely add the specified amount of water as Bisquick is an all inclusive baking mix. Do not mix it too much as the dough will become tough. Biscuit dough is always lumpy looking so don't worry.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured waxed paper. Roll the dough out thinly into a rectangular shape, (about 1/4" thick), as if you were making a rectangular pizza.

Open tube of sausage and spread it out thinly all over the freshly rolled out dough. I find it easy to take  large pinches of the sausage, flatten it in my hand and then apply it to the rolled out dough. Keep piecing the flattened sausage until dough is covered or until you run out of sausage.

So now you basically have dough rolled out thinly with an equally thin layer of sausage on top, (like jelly on a peanut butter sandwich). Beginning at one of the short ends, (remember this is a rectangle), carefully begin rolling the dough/sausage jellyroll fashion.

Once it is all rolled up, pinch the ends to close and begin rolling the concoction to the desire diameter, (remember how you made snakes from Play-doh? How they grew smaller in diameter and longer in length?  Same difference).

Wrap the finished roll in waxed paper and store in the fridge for several hours, (this will make them cut prettier). OR you can go ahead and cut them and bake them right away. Just be sure to re-shape them a bit so they look round and pretty. Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself, using a sharp knife slice the roll into 1/2" slices and place on un-greased cookie sheet. It's OK for them to touch as they aren't going to rise much.

Place in preheated 350 degree oven and cook for about 25-30 minutes. The number of pinwheels this recipe makes will vary depending upon how small you reduce the diameter by rolling. The particular batch pictured made 1 large cookie sheet full, which was fine for the small group I was feeding.
This would have been so much less wordy had I taken pictures throughout the entire process. Sorry.

But it's easy and almost foolproof. I promise. You can make the rolls in advance and store them in the freezer until ready to use. Or give the uncut/uncooked rolls as gifts. That's how I was first introduced to this recipe. It is now a covered dish or holiday breakfast staple in my house.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A grand conglomeration of mediums...

gnome home 1Like so many crafters I sometimes flit from project to project or craft to craft, to suit my mood or needs. If you fit into this crafting type category then the Gnome Home pattern by Katie Startzman is for you.

I've said it before.... this pattern is awesome and then some. It is a multi-media crafters dream as it incorporates knitting & felting & embroidery & the use of a wire armature & doll making and so on.

The pattern is well written with so many wonderful photos that both instruct and inspire. gnome home aerial view In addition, I found that this pattern really got my mind cranking with so many ideas for furniture and curtains & needle felted mushrooms, etc. and it was all I could do to NOT add these embellishments and extra touches as I made this for a crafty 12 year old girl, who will probably enjoy doing her own embellishments. So in addition to the house and two fairies I am sending the young lady a kit that I made up that includes felt scraps,chenille wires, silk flower parts, wooden beads, glue and so on, so she can finish what I started.

Equally adorable and awesome is the Wee Folks book by Salley Mavor. That is where the pattern for the fairy dolls came from. Just looking at this book transports me to an enchanted little world. I just love it so much.

The projects in the book are also well written, photographed & diagrammed so that even children and beginning crafters can successfully make the projects.

gnome home 4 Both patterns compliment each other beautifully, as if they were designed by the same author.

Now that the project is fnished and almost ready to mail I can't help thinking that I am going to have to start another one of these just for the sheer joy of it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another ADORABLE book by Stacey Trock...

She's done it again! This time the book is all about softies & stuffed critters and boy are they CUTE!! Looks like a good book to get for gifts for the crocheter's on your list. Or if you are so inclined, order the book for yourself and make gifts from it. I'm ordering mine today!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A fine collaboration...

OK, a long while ago I referred to a collaborative design project that my son & I worked on when he was a young grade-school aged child, (back in the late 80's). I was going to show a photo of the project but never did. Then yesterday I was talking about the importance of letting children help with the design process, when appropriate.
The backstory is that I was sewing some Easter bunnies. My son wanted one but with his own spin on it. I give you the pirate bunny. I know, it's been done to death lately, what with the huge popularity of pirates these days. I guess my son was ahead of his time. At any rate, he told me to add the peg leg, skull tattoo, make his face look mean and to give him "pirate-looking clothing". OK, my spin was to use the brightly colored 80's fabric scraps that I had on hand back then.
pirate bunny sitting

pirate bunny back

pirate bunny front

pirate bunny closeup

Regardless of the aesthetics of the outcome we had fun and that's what it's all about! Don't forget to play today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dolls with heart and the importance of letting go when children say "let me do it"...

It's always fun to see other folks "take" on my designs. Such was the case with an email that I got from Ginger. It seems that she has set out to make 3 Maggie Bean dolls for 3 very deserving young girls who have gone through very sad circumstances. 

In the process of making the dolls, her own child, who is pre-school aged decided that he wanted one of the dolls, so a fourth one is now in the works. In planning the doll for her child, Ginger allowed him to dictate how his doll would look in terms of types of eyes, (in this case googly eyes) & other customizations. Which brings to  mind my own children and how they used to co-design my puppets & dolls with me.

Having worked with children and young teens in the mental health field for about 18 years, I can not stress enough how imortant it is to a child's creative development to let them help. Yes, I wanted my puppets & dolls to be the way I wanted them to look, as oftentimes I was making them to sell. I didn't always practice what my college education, motherhood & growing up in a creative household taught me. Still, when time & materials allowed I tried to include my children when they expressed an interest.

Other than just having fun with your child, you are validating your child's ideas as being worthy and good. In addition you are promoting creative expression, positive self esteem, and sometimes a little problem solving as well. And no, you don't have to turn your 3 year old loose with a glue gun or needle and thread. In fact PLEASE don't do that. Just allow the child to say that he wants "googly" eyes, maybe even 3 of them on his doll. Or that his bunny should have a pegleg & tattoo and should be a pirate, (more on that later).
As I climb off my soapbox and get back to Ginger and her dolls, I have to commend her for allowing her son to help and for knitting up 3 dolls for 3 little girls, in hopes of helping to bring them a little cheer and comfort. Ginger has promised to send me final photos of the dolls. Here's what she's done so far...
This 1st picture is her son's doll. He requested that it only have 1 arm. Why not?

Love the hairdo on this little doll!! I am looking forward to seeing Ginger's progress as she is working towards a Christmas deadline.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

She's done it again! Oh the cuteness of it all....

Y'all I just have to share this super adorable idea from the super adorable designer Stacey Trock!! She's taken her adorably cute amigurumi and  has created KITS! All you add is the hook and stuffing. Can it get any better than this?
Crochet KIT: amigurumi owl -yarn and eyes included-
photo copyright @ Stacey Trock

No more searching for those elusive post & washer eyes or purchasing giant skeins only to need a teeny tiny bit to complete a small amigurumi. I think these kits are brilliant and are a great value at $12 to $16 per kit. What a fun gift idea for friends who might want to try their hand at amigurumi or you can make up the cutie and give THAT as a gift, (or keep it for yourself). Either way I think this idea is cute & clever & brilliant! Way to go Stacey!