The entire city is blooming.
This summer I'm going to be selling at District Flea. It's the first time I've done a craft fair and after this fall's soft launch (this? what we're doing right now? launching softly), I haven't built up enough inventory for a huge 10x10 space I'll have at the Flea. So I'm sewing and painting and coming up with new products and other fun things to try to make McIntosh & Burke a brand big enough for a hard launch in 2015. So pardon the radio silence and all the Instagrams of smoking bears as I stock pile foxes and badgers. And if you're in DC this summer and want to hang out I'll be posting my Flea dates soon.
We had a snow day, a half day, and a weekend all in a row. The blog suffered but I wanted to catch you up in one quick post. Clockwise from the terrarium:
1. My little sister and I made terrariums (another item crossed off my 30 by 30 list). We got our asymmetrical fishbowls and charcoal at Petsmart and everything else at Home Depot. They took no time but we both went running to our mother at a certain point because the cacti kept pricking us and we needed an adult. So far they are still alive.
2. We don't have a car in Washington right now and our vet is out near my parents’ house in Pennsylvania so the pets went to spend a week with my parents which is both sad because there is no one SO happy to see me when I come home from work first and also incredibly luxurious to not have to go for that last 11 pm walk.
3. I made a custom rabbit in a school uniform with a plaid skirt, navy blazer and a backpack. And she is UNREASONABLY cute.
4. Last year while Christmas shopping, I went mental over these Minimergency Kits. The little kits were so cute but didn't really have exactly what I wanted. I came across a bunch of DIY kits but nothing really caught my eye. Right before Christmas I was at Target buying an insane amount of candles that smell like Christmas Trees and I came upon these tiny little pouches for a buck each. I thought they would be perfect for corralling ibuprofen and bobby pins and chap sticks. I made one for each of my sisters and my mother and could pick things they actually might need instead of a generic lady kit. This weekend I stuffed them and wrapped them and gave them away. I included tiny emery boards and breath strips and stain remover and pain killers and a bunch of other things I wish I had in my purse all the time.
5. I made the teeniest tiniest knit tie (does one stitch wide count?) for a mini badger. Coming to the shop this week.
6. For Valentines I got a mug with Hilary Clinton on her phone. I gave my husband this card. Ladies on their phones feature prominently in our lives.
In between sewing little jackets for little badgers (there will be new little badgers in the shop soon!), I've been cutting tiny little hearts out of polymer clay, baking them up and painting them with nail polish. I made heart rings, heart hair clips and heart pins. And stars. A bunch of stars.
I started by rolling out a wee ball of white polymer clay using a brayer (you could just as easily use a rolling pin but I'm a bit paranoid about not using things I use for food with clay). I used some old cookie cutters to cut large and small hearts and stars out of the clay and popped them onto parchment paper and then into an oven for 20 minutes at 275° (check your own clay for baking instructions, your polymer might have different directions).
Once they had dried, I very messily painted them with nail polish (getting both the parchment paper and my fingers completely covered in nail polish). I let them dry for a couple of hours and then used Gel Super Glue to attach pin backs and bobby pins and ring backs that I got from the craft store. After a few hours they are ready to go. Three pins are on their way off to the Aunt Peaches Valentines Exchange and my little sisters are all getting some bobby pins. Now if only I could find a way to let the foxes wear heart pins.
This morning there is a new bear in the shop. Jane Bear's outfit may or may not be indictative of my desire for spring and the warm weather. I redid the animal pattern for legs so she has sweet little feet and a funky water colour skirt. I'm dreaming of summer weather and pretty skirts but for now I'm living vicariously through small wool bears.
The year I was a nanny I made mittens. The baby slept a lot and while she did I made mittens for friends and for my brother and my sisters and for our Lithuanian foreign exchange student. I knit them constantly. I also knit a hat that looked like Max and a tie and a bunch of cowls and hats. But this winter and fall (my prime knitting season) I was so wrapped up in making these little animals that there was almost no knitting. I've had one sad mate-less mitten sitting in my basket since September and this weekend I'm going to finish the other off. I use my grandmother's mitten pattern. It's easy and perfect and you don't have to set the thumb (you are welcome). Have a lovely long weekend and knit some mittens.
I used size 4 double sided needles and a ball of worsted weight yarn.
Cuff - Cast on 44 stitches and divide on 3 needles.
Join, work in round k2 p2 ribbing for 3 inches.
Decrease 2 stiches in the last round. There should be 42 stitches.
Hand - K even for 2 rounds.
First increase round: Increase one stitch in the first stitch, k1, inc 1 in the next stitch, k to end of row.
K 2 rounds even.
Second increase round: Inc 1 stitch in the first stitch, k3, inc 1 in the next stitch, k to end of row.
K 2 rounds even.
Continue to increase with two more stitches in between the increases every 3rd row, increase until you have 54 stitches on.
K 2 rounds even. Slip the 15 thumb stiches to a stitch holder.
Cast on 3 stitches, there should be 42 stitches on now.
Continue to work even until the measurement above cuff is 6 inches. Decrease 3 stitches in the last row.
First decrease round: k2tog every 3rd and 4th stitch, 10 times
K even 3 rows
Second decrease round: k2tog every 2nd and 3rd stitch, 10 times
K even 3 rows
Third decrease round: k2tog in succession all the way round. Break off yarn, leaving a tail. Draw end tightly through all stitches and fasten off.
Thumb – Slip to two needles the 15 stitches from the stitch holder.
With 3rd needle pick up and knit on the 3 cast on stitches.
There should be 18 stitches on the needles for the thumb.
K around until the thumb measures 2 inches above the cast on stitches.
First decrease round: *k1, k2tog* repeat 5 times
K even 2 rounds
K2tog in succession.
Finish as for top of mitten.
Make another mitten exactly the same way!
Something about DC in January when it still feels so cold and dark and wintry and all the lights are coming down and all the vacation is used up is a downer. My siblings are back in their respective states, David is back to school and we're all trying to lose weight, exercise more and stick to a budget. On the bright side, the vortex has moved on, all the post Christmas sales are amazing and I have loads and loads of free time. This week (while wearing PINS) I decided it was time to revisit my favourite cookie, one that didn't get made this Christmas in the hustle and bustle of gingerbread and chocolate thumbprints. The toffee-shortbread cookie. It hails from my mother's childhood in Scotland and if you have a weekend full of pins to make or badgers to stitch nothing will keep you happier than an enormous pot of tea and a pan of toffee short bread. The crunchy shortbread and the gooey toffee and chocolate, sweet heaven the chocolate.
8 oz Flour
8 oz butter
2 oz caster sugar
Mix all the ingredients together until it resembles bread crumbs or wet sand and press it into a cake tin. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and let it cool.
4 oz caster sugar
4 oz butter
2 tablespoons Lyle's Golden Syrup
14 oz tin of sweetened condensed milk
6 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
Mix all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Take the toffee off the heat and let it cool. Once its cool, spread it over the shortbread. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and pour it over the toffee. Let it cool and slice.