Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
I have a long history of sucking at making popcorn on the stove. In college, my roommate Maggie and I could have contests involving the number of kernels left at the bottom of the bowl. If your batch had less than 6, you got a free beer. If you had zero kernels left, I think you got a six-pack. I'm not sure I ever finished paying off all the beer I owed her.
In grad school, my roommate Rachel and I would make popcorn and watch Sex and the City ... and study. Cause we were lame. But I still wasn't all that good at it.
Cue Pinterest. Oh, Pinterest. You never really failed me ... until now. Even pinterest couldn't fix my popcorn predicament.
And then I sort of solved it by accident.
Here we go. Forgive the lack of measurements ... I tend to wing it in the kitchen.
In a 1-1/2 qt sauce pan, pour enough oil to just cover the bottom. Throw in about 10 popcorn kernels. Cover and shake a few times so kernels are coated with oil. Place over medium heat and walk away for a minute. I mean, don't leave the house with the stove on, but you can do dishes or something. This part is going to take a few minutes. Ever minute or so go back and shake the kernels around. You'll notice that they'll start to turn golden. When they start to pop, keep shaking the pan above the heat so they don't burn. Once they all pop (you'll know because you won't hear any "clinking" in the pan from the kernels), dump them into a bowl. Put another layer of oil down and throw another handful of kernels in (about a Tbsp), and shake a few times until coated. Because the pan is already the right temperature, the oil will heat quickly and the kernels will pop fast! As soon as they start to pop, keep shaking until all popped. Repeat until you have as much popcorn as you want.
Why this works: I used to put in as many kernels as the amount of popcorn I wanted. This didn't work because there were too many kernels, they would get stuck in the middle of the popped popcorn and not pop. Doing it in small batches means all the kernels get oil and touch the bottom of the pan, so they'll all get hot enough to pop. Also, when there are only a few kernels, you'll hear when it's done and won't keep the pan on the stove too long (which prevents burning).
Thursday, February 13, 2014
(Cross-Posted to my birthy blog, Crafted Birth)
When I was in high school I had a wonderful Anatomy teacher named Mr. Annand. He was famous for a strict no-swearing rule in his classroom (punishment was 10 push-ups), his Friday Talks (where he lectured us on smart choices like abstinence ("not until you're married and financially stable") and not drinking ("when you're TWENTY-ONE"), and the infamous STD slideshow ("This ... is a penis. This is a penis with herpes. Any questions?"). But more than that, he was an awesome teacher with a wonderful ability to make the material fun. Interpretive dances about Mitosis and Meiosis, 3D models of DNA, and my personal favorite, Jeopardy Review games before big tests (and there was always a Potpourri Trivia category about movies).
During my CBI training, I wrote up a fun activity to review class material and get students to relax and have fun. Thanks to Mr. Annand, I have a very good idea of how to run a Jeopardy class activity.
Of course we need a good title.
And some categories. Classes 1 and 2 cover different types of care providers, decision-making, maternal anatomy, fetal positions, stage 1 labor, and stage 2 labor. Before covering stage 3 labor and pain management, I want to make sure students remember he key points of the first two classes.
And questions/clues, of course. Many of them are actually written so they can be answered in the form of a question.
I had so much fun with this. And the internet is oh so helpful with things like this.
Question font ... the official font is call ITC Korinna bold
But this one, ScaKorinna, can be found here for free.
White with a black shadow.
The Category font is Haettenschweiler, but I couldn't find a porn-free site to download, so I used Impact. Close enough.
This school had a fun PowerPoint template, including the Final Jeopardy music.
I ended up making my own, with hyperlinks so I could go back and forth between the clues and the game board while the presentation was in full-screen mode.
(adding hyperlinks within a presentation).
Note: you can change the color of the hyperlinks in the color themes, so they'll be the correct Jeopardy colors and not the default bright blue that doesn't match anything.
This should be fun!!!
Check out Crafted Birth's current class schedule here.
Monday, January 27, 2014
I've finally opened an Etsy shop. Only two things in it so far, but it's a start.
Size: Adult female, about 22" around.
16" Size 6 circular needles
4x Size 6 double-pointed needles
About 140-160 yards (80-85) grams Worsted Weight yarn
(gauge is measured over the brim rib, with the rib relaxed, NOT stretched).
6.5 Stitches = 1 inch
7 Rows = 1 inch
Slant Left: Insert right needle into the second stitch on the left needle (this is "Stitch #1) BEHIND the first stitch (this is the "Slant Stitch"). Slip both Stitch #1 and the Slant Stitch off the needle. Slip the Slant Stitch back onto the left needle, then slip Stich #1 back into the left needle. Knit or purl that st (according to rib) and then knit the slant stitch. The stitches are now flipped, with the Slant Stitch passing in front of Stitch #1, and will look like a cable slanting to the left.
On circular needles, cast on 100 st. Place marker and join (be sure to not twist the stitches).
Rib [K1, P1] around for about 2.5 inches, or the desired length of brim. End last round at marker.
Set up for spiral:
K1, SSK, [p1, k1] for 9 st, *[k2, (p1, k1) for 9 st] rep from * around to marker (99 st).
K1, Slant Left, rib for 9 st (follow the rib established in the previous round), *[Slant left, rib for 9 st], repeat from * around, always following the rib from the previous round (which will change from k1p1 to p1k1 every other round.
Continue pattern until hat measures about 6" from turn up, ending before one st before the first slant of a new round (the slant that changes from crossing a knit st to crossing a purl st).
Note: the decrease st will follow the rib pattern. We will decrease the st that crosses BEHIND the slant st, so the decrease will happen BEFORE the slant. Because decreasing stitches changes the rib pattern, AND because slanting changes the rib pattern, AND because we decrease every other round for hats, this decease is worked in sets of 4 rounds.
Decrease Round A:
(the previous round ended one st before the Slant Stitch)
Slip st knit-wise onto right needle (this is "Stitch #1")
Insert right needle into the second st (this is "Stitch #2) on the left needle BEHIND the Slant stitch. Slip both Stitch #2 and the Slant stitch off the needle. Slip the Slant Stitch back onto the left needle, but leave Stitch #2 on the right needle. Insert left needle into the front of Stitch #2 and Stitch #1 (both on the right needle), and k2tog through back loop. This acts like a SSK decrease (which slants left, along with our slant).
Continue rib until 1 st before next slant.
Repeat around, ending at first slant of next round.
Decrease Round B (no decrease):
Slant left, making sure to continue the rib established on the right needle (which is different from the rib established in the previous round; in this round, we PURL the stitch that was crossed over).
Decrease Round C:
Slip st purl-wise onto the right needle (this is "Stitch #1"). Insert right needle into the second st in the left needle (this is Stitch #2) BEHIND the slanted stitch. Slip both the Stitch #2 and the slanted stitch off the needle. Slip the slanted stitch back onto the left needle. Insert left needle into the back of Stitch #2 and Stitch #1 (both on the right needle), then p2tog.
Continue rib until 1 st before next slant.
Repeat around, end at first slant of next round.
Decrease Round D (no decrease):
Repeat rows A, B, C, and D (make sure you keep track of which row you're on, in case you put it down and forget). Switch to double-pointed needles when there are too few stitches for the circular needles (about 54 st).
Repeat rows until there are 18 st left, ending at first slant of next round.
SSK around (9 st)
Cut yarn leaving a tail. Thread tail through remaining st and pull tight.
Don't have time to knit this awesome hat? Want to just buy it? ;)
Hope you enjoy! If you find any errors or typos, please leave a comment.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Ok, not all of them were finger paints. He actually uses the brushes pretty well.
Toddler paintings were a big part of our Christmas gift plan, as we were on a serious budget. Inspired by "As Time Flies" and Pinterest, we made a bunch of really cute paintings as gifts (and home decoration).
First we tried the Scotch Tape Words painting.
Canvas from Michaels (thank you 20% off coupon! Always check their site before you go. You can keep the coupon on your phone and just show it at checkout. Boom. Discount.)
Place scotch tape (or whatever tape you have, I guess) on the canvas in the shape of letters.
Then paint to your toddler's heart's content.
When dry, peel off the tape.
Rinse (brushes) and repeat.
Here we played with stickers, creating some fun shapes of different colors.
Here we played with texture -- sponges and a broken piece of something for scraping -- and language. I also cut the tape in half length-wise to create thinner lines (to make room for the longer word).
Next we tried the Cute Painted Phrase or Something on top of Toddler Painting painting.
(There were 7 canvases in the pack from Michaels, so we really had some fun!)
Paint. Kiddo really loves to add Black and White to his paintings, meaning they become muddy gray messes. I forced him to use brighter colors for this one (including Blue and Yellow, Go Irish).
Then I used Black and White paint to write the coordinates of where Ro was born. Awww. Adorable, I know.
I was going for something like this:
I now realize my handwriting doesn't get any better when you put a paint brush in my hand.
Still cute, and my engineer husband appreciated the nerdiness.
And finally, and Inspirational Text on Canvas painting.
I knew that I could overcome the handwriting issue somehow. TO THE PINS!!!
Found this, within seconds.
and it was exactly what I was looking for.
First, of course, you paint. Thins one actually had some fingers in it.
Next, you make the text in a word document (I used MS Publisher, because I love it and I'm a rebel).
Print it out, cut out the words and arrange them on your canvas.
Rub the backside of the words with a pencil until it's covered with graphite.
Place the paper back on the canvas and color in the letters on the right side of the paper (press down really hard).
The graphite on the back will transfer to the canvas in very neat letters.
Then trace the letters with a marker or paint.
Finally, give away and/or decorate your home with your new, cheap creations. People will think you are adorable and crafty.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
My holiday gifts did not go quite as I had planned. Who would've thought that uprooting my entire life would have gotten in the way of my hobby?!
Dad's Fisherman's Rib Hat.
It's super squishy and really warm.
It's sort of big and used A LOT of yarn.
Because I did it in the round, there is a seam where I switched from K1b to P1b. While this does hold the two layers of the hat together, the tension got a little weird around that spot and it sort of looks like there's a hole.
The decreases aren't as fancy as I wanted. Problem: the Brioche Stitch (Fisherman's Rib) can be done two ways ... either you Yarn Over on one row and then decrease on the next row, or you knit or purl into the previous row's stitch. It ends up looking the same, and because I was doing it in the round, it made sense to just knit into the previous row on every row (alternating between knitting below and purling below). However, all the decrease instructions I found used the Yarn Over technique. So I just ended up doing a SSK with three stitches at a time, slipping the stitch below just as would have knitted the stitch below. I did this every other row; on alternating rows, I did a normal purl stitch below. It turned out ok, maybe a little sharper than normal because I was decreasing 2 stitches every other row, instead of decreasing 1. But it was so squishy that I don't think it mattered.
(also, again, I can't seem to find the good pictures. I KNOW I took pictures with the good camera, and now I don't know where they went. Grrr.)
Mom C's House Slippers
Mom was actually the only one to receive slippers. I ended up not having enough time for the other ladies in my life, though I promised that they would get them eventually.
Jess's Spiral Rib Hat
This turned out really good. (The one in the picture is actually my test version of this; Jess's version had a brim). I'm going to do a pattern post for it as soon as I take some tutorial pictures of the stitch.
Eleanor's Play Food
Emily and Zoe's Headbands
These came out really cute. I hope they like them. (I didn't end up finishing the Lattice Garden Scarf like I had intended, but at least I got to use some of the flower patterns I found).
(Credit goes here)
For the Grandparents,
Uncle Josh and Tia Wendy,
Coloring Books for the kiddos
I took pictures from their parents' Facebook pages and turned them into coloring pages. (Tutorial here)
Chris made Gingerbread Coffee Syrup for all the coffee drinkers in the family. It was a great idea, until Rowan decided to hand out presents.
And a little something for myself ...
Post-Christmas Rush gifts for Rowan, Gipper, and Chris will follow. Ro needs a new hat, Gipper a new sweater, and Chris asked for a red scarf.