BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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What’s Baking, Cupcake?

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.

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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!

Cupcake 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.
Tie off.

Frosting:

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.

Printable Pattern