Friday, November 28, 2014

Farmer's Market-inspired Thanksgiving

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving everyone!

I am so sorry this post is going up so late tonight. We drove back from dear old Dallas today and it was a long and arduous trip. I'm exhausted! So I'm hammering out this post real quick before it's too late!

I made an absolutely fabulous (if I do say so myself) Farmer's Market-inspired Thanksgiving meal this year and I wanted to share with you what I did. My family is full of health-nuts, but even those who aren't into green eats might be able to glean a recipe or two from this spread.

Here's what my plate looked like:

Can we say om nom nom? I can say it, and I did say it, a lot, throughout the afternoon's festivities. :)

Click the jump for more food pr0n and some recipes. :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Basic Ribbed Scarf

Good morning all! It's a beautiful day here in SoTex - a little TOO beautiful for winter, but you won't see me complaining!

The other day my brother posted the following on his Facebook page:

"Give me your scarf."

I took that to mean he really wanted a hand-knit scarf from his talented, beautiful big sister. Right? I mean, that's pretty clear to you too, isn't it? That's definitely the subtext, yeah?

Anyway, I told him he'd have a scarf by Thanksgiving and he was all, "Score!" so I set to work.

Now, I love my brother. I think he's just about one of the coolest people I know. But he does not hang onto things very well. I'd wager I've made him about a half dozen hand-knit items in the past, and I would be pretty surprised if he still had any of them. It's cool. I don't get upset.

I just don't go nuts when I make him things. :)

That's why I went super simple with this scarf. He likes simple, I like simple, simple is good, simple is kind. Now for some reason I feel like writing down what I did, but you certainly don't need a pattern for this. It really is very, very basic. But it's warm and cushy and soft, so you know. Mission accomplished.

After the jump, you'll see more pictures and a full pattern.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Inspiration Tuesday: Winter Fashion

Happy Tuesday my lovelies!

Even though I have a zillion and a half things to show you, I thought I'd take a little break today and show you what I've been looking at lately, and what has been inspiring some of my upcoming projects.

I love fashion. Oh, so very much. I'm not super knowledgeable about it. I didn't go to school and take a history of fashion class. I can't tell you what the fundamental differences are between Valentino and Oscar de la Renta. But I love looking at clothes, and letting their form and function make my brain go places it's never gone before.

I spent alllll day on Saturday looking at pictures from this past February's Autumn/Winter 2014 New York Fashion Week shows, and I ended up staying awake until almost 4:30 in the morning because my brain would. Not. Shut. Up. I NEVER stay awake until 4:30 in the morning!

Anyway, just after the jump you'll see a handful of pics from each of my favorite designers, who may have shown these collections almost a year ago, but have predicted what kinds of things will be fashionable...right now!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hat #8: Noro Spiral-ish

Hat #8 is ready for its close up!

I kinda sorta used a spiral effect but ended up sort of accidentally made it a "broken" spiral - about 2/3 up the hat the spiraling eyelets break off and start again a few rows later. I kinda liked it!

More pictures and a pattern after the jump!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts.


They get kind of a bad rap, huh? Always considered the "grossest" vegetable. So gross, in fact, that the very name "Brussels sprouts" seems to cause even the most open-minded face to cringe just a tiny bit when they're mentioned.

I had Brussels sprouts when I was a kid. They were disgusting. I hated them.

But something has been happening lately on the Internet...people have been making Brussels sprouts for their families...and their families LOVE them! I was intrigued. And when I walked into Trader Joe's the other day and was faced with this:

I thought...hmmmmmmm...could be that it's time to try Brussels sprouts again!

I dug around and looked at a few different recipes. Clearly the best way to do this is to roast them. Which is great, because roasting is my favorite way to prepare vegetables! A lot of people suggested Balsamic vinegar, and a lot of people said garlic, and a lot of people said lemon. Well, I happen to have all of those things. So I brought it home...

Click the jump to see how THIS weird little experiment turned out!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hat #7: Who?!?!

Hat 7 is complete!

I used this pattern:

Yeah it's supposed to be owls. It's a little hard to see them because I picked such a thick and dark-colored yarn (Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn in Mulberry). But I've found if you TELL someone that it's owls, they can see it right away and it's obvious. Otherwise it just looks like cables.

Click "Read More" for more pictures, if you want. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


First of all, I HAVE EXCITING NEWS!!!

Last night I uploaded my first ever Instructable onto (I KNOW you guys have been on that site before). I decided to go with my Sweatshirt to Romantic Cardigan tutorial, which I basically recreated for the Instructable. 

So I uploaded it and forgot about it, thinking that there are so many HUNDREDS of Instructables posted all the time, that mine would drop to the bottom of the list and get forgotten and go unseen by the millions of people who visit the site.

Until this afternoon, when I received the exciting news that my Instructable, a mere 15 hours after I posted it, has been selected by Instructable editors to be featured!!!!!


I literally did a little happy dance when I saw the email. I couldn't be more thrilled. :D :D :D 

In fact, I'm so thrilled, I have nothing finished to show you today. :(

However, I do have several works in progress - so without further ado, click the jump to see what I'm working on this week...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hat #6: Wurm Hat for a kiddo :)

Hat #6 is done - a lot faster than I thought it would be!

My daughter was jealous of all these hats I've been making for people. So, even though I JUST MADE HER ONE:

I let her pick out a skein of yarn from my stash (she chose this skein of Knit Picks Stroll Sock Yarn in Tree Fort):

And a pattern:

Wurm by Katharina Nopp (Ravelry link)


Monday, November 17, 2014

Watercolor Dress Re-Size!

Fun weekend times ahead!!

I haven't been as inspired to reconstruct lately as I used to be. I know that for me, my interests tend to wax and wane, but with all my new readers from the Refashion Co-op Blog (yay, thank you!!), I realized that I needed to keep this up, even if I didn't necessarily feel like it.

Turns out, just STARTING a recon is a great way to get inspired again! I'll have to remember that for the future.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, a trip to Goodwill turned up

My friend and I passed it by, laughing at it as we did. Those colors! That shape! LOLOL. What a ridiculous dress. We moved on.

But I kept looking...

And looking...

And looking back at it. Finally, I caved. "I need that dress," I said. My friend laughed as I raced back and snatched it up before anybody else could get it. I needed it. NEEDED IT.

And even though I felt like a giant watercolored monster in it...

I knew it had potential to be adorable and even - dare I say - sexy!!!

Click "Read More" to find out how I TOTALLY SUCCEEDED.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Black Bean Potato Chili

Sometimes you don't feel like cooking and you can't afford delivery. So you just throw a bunch of crap into a pot and heat it up and hope it doesn't suck.

That's how this Black Bean and Potato Chili came about. And did. Not. Suck.

It's hard to photograph chili. It's kind of gross-looking, to be honest. But even these pictures are making me drool. I WANT MORE CHILI NOW PLEASE. 

It's perfect with a little corn bread...

And a sprinkling of melty cheddar cheese...

Basically there might not be a more perfect winter recipe than chili.

Click "Read More" for the recipe. You'll be so, so glad you did.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hat #5: Stripey Hat!

Hat #5 makes its appearance!!

This one was so super fun to do that even though I totally screwed up the beginning of the swirl pattern I don't even mind. I might make this hat AGAIN anyway! I still love it.

The pattern? Swirl Hat by Mandie Harrington (Ravelry link - be sure to sign in to see the pattern!)

It's kind of genius! It looks complicated as hell, but the swirl pattern is created using a crafty and diabolical combination of YO's and K2Tog's. Brilliant! And I used less than one skein of this marvelous Knit Picks Felici Self-Striping yarn in Building Blocks (which I think might be discontinued as of this posting):

I don't have a lot to add, but if you click "Read More" you can see more beauty shots of the hat, including full-on shots of how awesome the swirl looks from different angles!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gap to No Gap Recon!

Last week I showed you this awesome shirt I got at Goodwill: 

I loved the pattern and the fit - and the silky smoothness of the fabric feels so luxurious! But those shoulder pads...

And that gap! Ugh - my fellow compatriots in the "huge tracts of land" club can relate. I have avoided button-up shirts like the plague because of this very issue. Sure, sure, you can "safety pin" the gap closed. But who wants to fuss with a safety pin every time you put on your shirt? I can tell you right now - if I had to attach a safety pin every time I wanted to wear this shirt? That would be a reason I'd give myself not to wear it.

Luckily, this shirt surprisingly provided me with everything I needed to fix this "Read More" to find out how!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hat #4: My Own Hat

Sorry for no posts Thursday and Friday last week y'all. I came down with a WICKED stomach virus and I couldn't do anything but lay on the couch, binge-watch Masterchef (I want to cook ALL THE THINGS)...and knit.

I made a whole hat, out of sock yarn, in just a few days. That's not including, of course, the two full days it took to wind up the hank of Malabrigo I used. As a friend of mine put it, Malabrigo uses drunken donkeys to skein their yarns, and I am pretty sure I agree. But it was so, so worth it.

It was a pretty, simple little hat pattern. I didn't want anything too spicy to re-introduce myself into the wild and wonderful world of "knitting things more complex than a square". But I think the effect is pretty nice.

Click "Read More" for more wonderful pictures. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hat #3: Baby Hug Hat

Hat #3 has been completed! I am on a roll. :) I love this adorable little baby hat, just like I love the adorable little baby whose head it will adorn when I (finally) meet him this weekend!

I used a pattern found on Ravelry that was simple enough to be completed in a few hours, but complex enough not to be boring: the Hug Hat by Cathy Hardy. Nice job Cathy!

I'm casting on a somewhat more complex (and incredibly boring) hat for myself today, but in the meantime I thought I'd show you some of my recent thrift store acquisitions, all of which are due for some level of attack, be it minor fixes or MAJOR OVERHAULS:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hat #2: Basic Ribbed Crochet Hat

Geez, I feel like I'm going to end up making 30 hats before Christmas.


New challenge. That's good, I like challenges. And I have a WHOLE bunch of yarn scraps to use up. 

Click "Read More" to find out how I did this. It's not really a pattern, but more like a formula. This was fun and quick and I'll probably do more like this before the challenge is over. :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hat #1: Three-Hour Ribbed Knit Hat

Ahhh, November is here. I'll be honest - I kind of hate November. It's not so much that bad things happen in November. Thanksgiving is awesome, and I have some good friends who have birthdays during this month, but overall it just has always been kind of a blah month for me. Too far from Christmas to start getting excited, and Halloween and the excitement of fall starting have already passed. It's one of those awful "in between" months where it's just kind of cold and nasty outside.

Fortunately, cold and nasty outside means I get to knit!

I haven't actually picked up a pair of knitting needles in a long time. I used to knit feverishly, constantly, effortlessly, every day. I knit while watching TV. I knit before bed. I knit while stopped in traffic (not really because that's DANGEROUS). But lately? I don't know. I lost some of the fire. I wanted to get it back.

No better way than to get it back by knitting up my quick-and-easy almost-always-improvised knit hat - a perfect celebration of impending winter (eww) and my hopeful foray back into the world of the great and powerful fiber arts!

I wrote a (kind of) tutorial for this post. Click "Read More" for that tutorial and some other fun stuff!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Hell Family's Halloween Costumes!

Happy Halloween! (FINALLY!)

We have been a BUSY Handmade Hell family this week. I don't know how the month got away from me already, but I found that my kids were essentially COSTUME-LESS as of the beginning of this week.


Any good crafty mom worth her salt would DIE before allowing such a travesty to befall her offspring! The vicious side of my maternal instincts kicked into high gear and I spent hours...and hours...and hours planning, cutting, re-cutting, gluing, sewing, and assembling these costumes.

I even managed to throw one together for myself. :)

Click Read More for full pictures and some fun mini-tutorials!