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!
First things first, the winner of a copy of The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life is…
Commenter #71, Heather! Congratulations, Heather; you’ll be hearing from me shortly so that you can collect your prize.
Bakers can be the hardest people to find gifts for. Cookbooks may be taken as an insult, bake ware may end up as unnecessary clutter, and homemade edibles seem like they could never live up to their high standards. However, if you’re of a more crafty temperament, then it’s easy to sidestep this problem. Homemade gifts are easily the best sort, so instead of channeling that creativity into an over-sized, itchy sweater, try whipping up a set of potholders that are shaped like cupcakes!
Even if the recipient isn’t big on baking, perhaps these enticing kitchen accessories might inspire them to get in there and start making good use of their oven. It’s a win-win sort of gift; They get a lovely and useful tool, and you get the sweets that result from their use!
Recently published in Melisser Elliott’s The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life, I’ve been waiting to share this pattern for over a year now, and am thrilled to finally post it here as well. Now get crafting- The holidays are almost upon us and everyone will want a pair of these cute potholders!
Cake (Make 4):
With an F hook and brown or tan worsted weight cotton yarn, ch 25
Row 1: (WS) dc in second ch from hook, dc in next 4 chs, sc in remaining chs. Ch1, turn (24sc)
Row 2: (RS) sc in each st across. Ch1, turn
Row 3: Working in back loops only, dc in next 5 sts, sc in remaining sts. Ch1, turn
Rows 4-27: repeat rows 2 and 3.
Row 1: With frosting color and RS facing, attach yarn with a sc to the widest edge – right corner. Evenly space 34 sc total along the top edge. Ch1, turn. (34)
Row 2: Sc twice into one st, sc until the last st, sc twice into one. Ch1, turn. (36)
Row 3: Sc twice into one st, sc until the last st, sc twice into one. Ch1, turn. (38)
Row 4: Sc twice into one st, sc until the last st, sc twice into one. Ch1, turn. (40)
Rows 5 – 8: Sc across. Ch1, turn
Row 9: Sc2tog twice, sc until the last 4 sts, sc2tog twice. Ch1, turn. (36)
Row 10: Sc2tog, sc until last 2 sts, sc2tog. Ch1, turn. (34)
Rows 11 and 12: Sc2tog twice, sc until the last 4 sts, sc2tog twice. Ch1, turn. (26)
Rows 13 – 16: Sc2tog, sc until last 2 sts, sc2tog. Ch1, turn. (18)
Row 17 and 18: Sc2tog twice, sc until the last 4 sts, sc2tog twice. Ch1, turn. (10)
Row 19: Sl st 4 times, switch to red yarn, and begin the cherry
Row 20: Ch 12, sl st into the next open st in the frosting. Ch1, turn. (12)
Row 21: Hdc into each st. Sl st back into the frosting. Tie off, and bury the ends of the yarn.
Repeat with all four cake pieces.
To assemble, sew two sides together using a whip stitch around. Repeat with the other two sides.
My little birdies are lucky enough to get two!
As much as I’ve already been enjoying the 2010 Crochet a Day Calendar, I’ve got to say, it gained about a hundred extra awesome points this morning when I revealed the latest page, and remembered that my work has been included this year. Though it’s one of my oldest patterns, those simple feathered friends of mine continue to be one of the most popular patterns on the blog, and I’m so happy that they could get another moment in the spotlight. An extra little bonus of this whole deal is that now everyone gets a lovely little printable pattern card, to print and cherish, to have and to hold… Er, well, at least to enjoy and share around, at least! Just click the pictures above for a full view.
Although I personally believe that every day should be Earth Day, marking it on the calendar does give us a particularly good excuse to duck out of work early and enjoy the outdoors. Especially on this beautiful sunny day today, it would be downright foolish to hunker down inside.
Spring is out in full force at last, showing off a rainbow of colors with its fresh blooms and sprouts. The tiny young fawns with white-speckled coats have emerged as well, one of my favorite sights to behold; a bit awkward and shaky on their legs still, but somehow incredibly elegant all the same. They may grow up to threaten the existence of my vegetable garden, but for now, I don’t mind sharing some of the little purple flowers sprinkled across the lawn. Munching away without a care in the world, this little one is clearly enjoying the nice weather and springtime bounty of greenery, too.
Happy Earth Day!
Like mom always said, you’ve got to eat your veggies if you want to grow up big and strong. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to back that claim up now, but even before the medical experts decided to weigh in and add legitimacy to that classic parental insistence, it was an unarguable fact that those leafy greens were the key to a healthy adulthood. Instead of reaching for the spinach like so many trendy mothers, however, mine would bust out the most unsuspecting subjects… Like mushrooms.
Balking at the power of a simple button mushroom, I resisted just like any average child, squirming in my seat until dinner time was over and I could toss out the offending fungus on my plate. Clearly, my mom had a few tricks up her sleeve, and over time I caught wind that these were no average mushrooms at all.
Sure, they looked different than their brown brethren, but when I would finally oblige with a few tentative bites, it felt as though my energy levels suddenly went through the roof, like a new set of batteries had been installed inside me. It’s a crazy concept to be sure, but I’m convinced to this day that those mushrooms and veggies were what always charged me back up, almost like magic!
Of course, I still could never bring myself to eat those suspicious red-capped ‘shrooms… Perhaps that’s why I never grew so tall!