BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked


15 Comments

Do or Do-nut

Bigger is always better, or so we’re led to believe here in America. Grande sounds good, but why stop there when you can get a Venti, or even a Trenta? While you’re at it, you might as well super-size that order, or just get your whole meal in a bucket when no other vessel is large enough to accommodate. The literal proportions of the situation can quickly get out of hand, but by no means is this a criticism- More of an amused observation. I fully accept my own guilt when it comes to pushing reasonable size limitations in all aspects, and especially when it comes to food. Though I’d like to think of myself as more rational, balanced, or reserved, it’s hard to deny when the entire volume of your largest suitcase is occupied by just one doughnut.

Somehow it figures that the single largest object to have ever emerged from my crochet hook would be a dessert. Coming from this sweet-toothed and food-obsessed crafter, what else could it have really been? Billed as a “floor poof,” I’d like to think that this creation is genuinely more functional than frivolous. Kick up your feet and use it as an ottoman; stack up some reading material to enjoy it as a side table; cozy up with it on the couch as a super plush pillow. Really, its utility is as expansive as its physical size.

What I didn’t anticipate was that everyone in the house would want to make the most of this enormous fiberfill fritter.

It should come as no surprise that dogs love doughnuts too. One four-legged visitor discovered that my cotton snack cake was in fact the perfect size for a dog bed. Seeing this sweet pup so happily wedged in the center, it was hard to argue that in this case, bigger really was better. Maybe I should try stepping it up next time and build one with a Great Dane in mind. It’s best to keep thinking big, right?

Pattern from Twinkie Chan’s Crocheted Abode a la Mode.


19 Comments

The Final Final

It’s a familiar, if vexing routine. Intense stress of a difficult semester becomes condensed into the span of a few days, complete with a mountain of busy work that will never serve any purpose in the real world. Study, lose sleep, slave away on essays, and ultimately jump over another hurdle. Pause for a few weeks and repeat, ad nauseum. The relentless cycle of schoolwork and deadlines holds scant appeal these days, after a lifetime of compulsory education followed by an extended part-time approach to earning a degree. Still in the throes of this final wave of exams, I’m ready to get off this hamster wheel once and for all. This is my final round of finals.

Hard to believe that relief is in sight, at long last. Many years went by when I couldn’t even say for sure if I was a Sophomore or a Junior, graduating in 2015, 2016, or just graduating, period. Working online, separated from a physical campus by hundreds of miles, I was completely in the dark; there was no light at the end of the tunnel at all.

No one could have predicted what a crazy, twisting path lay ahead, nor how the journey might shape my life, far beyond basic intellectual enrichment. Pulling me across the country to this foreign land that I now call home, it may not be paradise and sunshine every day, but it sure is beachy-keen compared my once hermit-like existence.

Once the very last wave of grades crashes ashore, I can’t say for sure what the future might hold. Heck, I can’t even say what I’ll eat for dinner tonight! All I know is that there’s still so much more ahead, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have built my nest here in California to see it through.

That’s all to say, please forgive any blogging interruptions until graduation! Your regularly programmed posts will return shortly.


7 Comments

Beat the Heat

Summer rages on, turning enclosed cars into rolling ovens and frying the delicate petals of spring flowers to crispy brown ribbons. Temperatures on the east coast look comparatively mild by sheer numbers alone, but it’s the humidity that really beats one into submission. Dry heat is more manageable even in the extreme; it doesn’t seem to cling or weigh so heavily, adding insult to injury under the radiating sun. Spending more time out west has certainly increased my tolerance for the heat, so even though the daily highs regularly score higher than those in Honolulu lately, it doesn’t seem as insufferable as years past. Clearly, not everyone feels the same.

Some people just aren’t equipped to deal with this sort of climate, racing from one air conditioned oasis to the next, dreading any time spent out in the unforgiving elements. This guy took that inclination to the next level, craftily sneaking into the very coldest place in the house. If this heat wave keeps up, I know a few other creatures in this house, both big and small, that might tempted to crawl in there with him.

Seal amigurumi pattern from ABC Crochet by Mitsuki Hoshi.


14 Comments

An Unexpected Interloper

It’s been a banner year for our postage stamp-sized garden out back, finally turning out greater yields than the miniscule seeds that went into the ground in the first place. Predictably, with greater growing success comes the need for greater vigilance, as plump tomatoes gleam brighter and redder by the day, proving irresistible to both human and animal passersby. As if it wasn’t difficult enough to let the immature fruits ripen on the vine, as deeper shades of blush tempt a premature harvest, keeping other creatures from that same impulse has become something of a full-time occupation. Flimsy netting can only go so far, especially with the creatures smart enough to burrow beneath that loosely applied barrier.

Such was the case when one particularly ambitious (or perhaps, merely hungry) rabbit made it past the fence unhindered. Seemingly stunned to have stumbled upon this treasure trove of produce, he couldn’t quite get his bearings, unsure if it was all real or just a beautiful dream. Standing slack-jawed on a big green hill to get a better view of this bounty, it never even occurred to him that it was in fact a baby watermelon right beneath his feet. Beggars can’t be choosers, but when faced with a near limitless selection of edibles, this particular herbivore singled out the one thing he wanted most, neglecting all the easier prey: Carrots.

Upon spotting the green, frilly tops shooting up from the tender earth, there were no suitable alternatives as far as the rabbit was concern. Leaping off the neglected melon that might as well have been made of stone, he made a beeline for his beloved, fervently scooping away the dirt and yanking those promising sprouts with all his might. Possessing impressive might despite his size, he made quick work of the task and soon took one rapturous bite full of…

Parsley root? Indignant, he spat out the mouthful of beige tuber, still in disbelief at what he was tasting. Seriously, who plants parsley root instead of carrots? To call this a disappointment wouldn’t even scratch the surface at what this industrious rabbit was feeling, especially after all of the obstacles he had to overcome, all for that subtly celery-like taste. It wasn’t sweet at all! Who on earth would eat, let alone plant such a bizarre, unlovable vegetable?

Suddenly realizing that the garden mistress must be a raving lunatic, he was gripped with fear, sensing the gravity of his hunger-crazed and thoughtless actions. He fled the scene without a second to lose, abandoning his unwanted plunder right where it lay.

Rabbit amigurumi pattern from ABC Crochet by Mitsuki Hoshi. And yes, I do happen to love parsley root; deal with it, you silly rabbits.


20 Comments

Herbivore Dinosaurs

For a blog that began life as a showcase for all things crafty, there sure has been a dearth of new handmade projects or ideas gracing these pages. Not for any lack of ideas or desire, time and patience are simply at a premium these days, leaving little room to squeeze in just one more extra endeavor. It takes a whole lot of effort to get yarn on my needles and hooks these days- Happily, my good friend Glauce provided all the inspiration necessary. Expecting her first child, her request for a mobile made with five soft, stuffed, amigurumi dinosaurs was impossible to turn down.

Mind you, this was way back in the late summer of 2011. It only took me a whole year to complete the whole thing, proving yet again that perhaps I’m not cut out to accept crochet commissions. Ever accommodating and understanding, Glauce still graciously accepted the finished piece to share with her now nearly one year old son.

All photos courtesy of Glauce.

Maybe I’m just over-analyzing this, but I think he likes it?

As luck would have it, Glauce is also hosting a big cookbook giveaway to celebrate the relaunch of her lovely website, and a copy of Vegan a la Mode is included! Be sure to enter and browse through this inspiring resource while you’re over there.


134 Comments

A Milestone

Five years ago today, there was a painfully shy teenage girl who decided to start a blog. Cooking tofu pups over a bare gas burner and tossing grilled “cheese” sandwiches into a sandwich press were the extent of her culinary repertoire, and the oven remained a strange and incomprehensible tool of incineration. She had few friends, no direction in life, and little optimism for the future. Crafts- crochet, knitting, sewing, beading; anything to keep the hands and mind occupied- Were a comfort, if primarily a means of distraction. Somehow, with the gentle encouragement of a few kind readers, that tiny, forgettable craft blog began to evolve. Cooking suddenly became another art to be mastered. She became bolder in the kitchen, developing a sincere passion for experimenting with ingredients, creating different dishes.

She discovered a love for photography. She developed a voice. She gained genuine friends. She became a part of a compassionate community.

This wee little blog, an virtual journal filled with rambling thoughts and crazy ideas, was never destined for greatness, but it has irrevocably shaped and guided my life’s journey. Moreover, you, my friends, are responsible for giving me courage to continue along that path. And for that, I am deeply grateful. Five years later and somehow, I’m still here, still learning, along side all of you; a modern miracle if I ever saw one.

I wish I could truly give back to this community that has given me so much, but I have at least one small token to commemorate this fifth blog birthday…

What has become perhaps my favorite crochet pattern ever, the Skull Holders from Debbie Stoller’s The Happy Hooker, has made at least a half dozen appearances on my hook. Given as gifts to friends and family near and far, even I have my own beat up pair tucked in a drawer just beneath the stove. Now I want you to have a set, too.

All you have to do is leave me a comment including your name and a valid email address, and tell me what would be the first thing you’d pull from the oven with these pot holders. Or, if you don’t bake, what other dish they would aide you in cooking. Or, if you can’t think of anything, just let me know that you’re still out there. I’m just happy to have all of you around, following along, and that’s all I can really ask for. You have until Valentine’s Day, February 14th, to enter, and the winner will be selected by a random number generator shortly thereafter.

The journey isn’t over by a long shot though. I’d like to believe that the best is yet to come… Stay tuned!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 12,469 other followers