Thursday, July 5, 2012


To make up for the prolonged absence, I've decided to divulge the secret that holds together my entire romantic life.

It's chocolate.


Not just any chocolate. Chocolate-covered cherries. Want the secret? I don't care, I'm gonna tell you anyway! And I'm gonna use two and a half boatloads of photos to do it!

Are you ready?

If you're not, you can just read this and look at the pretty pictures and tell yourself you'll make it later. I'd keep that promise, though, these are super delish.

You start with maraschino cherries that still have stems. I'm particularly fond of the Tillen Farms maraschino cherries with stems—they don't have any artificial coloring or preservatives. Also, they are freaking delicious and I may or may not eat them plain when no one is looking. And I may or may not make boozy drinks just so that I have an excuse to eat moar cherries.

I may have started with two dozen cherries.

Just dry them out on some paper towels, probably for about a half hour.

While the cherries are drying, chop up some good quality chocolate (I prefer Trader Joe's Pound Plus, I do a combo of the 72% and dark chocolate) and plop it into a bowl.

Dark chocolate is better.

Then slowly melt those mofos down (using your double-boiler or microwave, your choice) to a slick, thick sauce. Bang the bowl on the counter a couple of times to force out those rebellious bubbles that sneak in when you stir. It should be smooth, glossy, and irresistibly chocolately smelling.

And don't slam your face into the hot chocolate. It hurts.

Next, you take some vanilla sugar—you have vanilla sugar, right?

This doesn't look like bugs or something, right?

If you don't have it, it's really easy. It just takes a while. When you have leftover vanilla beans stripped of the delicious black caviar within, toss the scraps into a jar. Fill jar with sugar. Replenish with sugar and vanilla scraps as necessary. Boom, baby. There are probably far more helpful guides to vanilla sugar on the interwebs, but my way is for the lazy.

So, you take your somewhat-dryer maraschino cherries and dip them into the vanilla sugar. 

and try not to eat it

Really roll the cherry around, to ensure that it is completely coated in vanilla sugar.

try really, really hard.

Then you dip that flirtatious cherry into the luscious chocolate, ensuring that it is covered all the way up to the stem.

Dip the cherry, not face or fingers.

When it's completely coated, just plop that little nugget down on some parchment paper to cool off and harden.

I can see me in the cherry...

If the cherries are having some trouble staying upright, lean them against something about two to three inches tall. It's inconvenient to have the cherries completely upright, so I usually aim to have the stems at about a 45 degree angle.

My little blue bowls are slightly too short, but I like them so much I use them anyway.

Sometimes the stem falls off completely and you are left with a horrible stemless mess. Do not despair. These are the ones you get to save for secret eating, I mean testing, later.

Plus, they usually have more chocolate on them.

Eventually, the vanilla sugar is going to start falling off the cherries and build up in the chocolate. It will look kinda gross.


It's totally fine. If you want a completely smooth look, melt some more chocolate. My experience has been that no one notices it, so I just keep on truckin'. If you want new chocolate, but feel guilty wasting the sugary chocolate, I highly suggest making mendiants. They're pretty easy, basically just dried fruits and nuts jammed into chocolate piles. (If you're a pro you probably care about making sure it's the specifically correct dried fruits and nuts, but I like to use whatever is on hand.)

And since it has fruit, you can pretend it's healthy.

And that is really it! They are pretty easy to make, just messy. They make a great Valentine's Day gift for someone you care about, and you can toss in some chocolate-covered strawberries for funsies, if you feel like it!

And the mendiants, since they're there or whatever.

The bonus is that you win love forever, or something like that. I'm not really sure; my source is kinda biased.

I have no idea why he'd be biased, though.

The end. Go eat some chocolate.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sewing monster

For serious—all day Tuesday I was a sewing monster. I bought a bunch of Magnolia Lane by Laura Gunn fabric, and I just couldn't resist making something with it ASAP. Look at the gorgeous tote bag and made:

Using the teal Painter's Canvas and Magnolia Branch

And look at this one!!

Painter's Canvas in teal again, along with Textured Plaid in Turquoise 

Hmmm.... notice something uncanny? (Besides how messy my craft room is because that is totally normal for me?) The similar colors, the pretty much identical straps, perhaps?


OH SNAP, I tricked you!! It's a reversible tote bag!!! I have one bag but when I go out on different nights I can pretend I have two!!!! (Not that I really go out a lot but still!!) Since I couldn't find a reversible tote bag pattern that pleased me, I decided to make up my own using this pattern from Weekend Designer and this pattern from Skip to My Lou. I think it worked out pretty well, as long as you don't count that I forgot a pin and sewed it in between the two layers, never to be retrieved. You will be missed, pin, especially since I think you were one of the purple ones.

Since I know myself well enough to realize that attempting to use this tote bag in any shape or form to move around my everyday belongings would result in a dark, evil, pit of chaos at the bottom of the purse, I also decided to use the pattern from Fresh Crush to make your own purse organizer using scraps and a cereal box. I don't eat cereal, so I'm using a box that once held cocktail wieners. I eat a lot of those, which is also probably why I can't fit in most of my jeans. I should eat cereal instead, even though it is gross and always ends up soggy. I haven't finished it yet, but as soon as I do, I will post a pic. :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A parade of foods

Well, since I have been so lax about posting for the past couple of months, I've had a lot of photos log up into a giant, quivering mass hiding somewhere on my boyfriend's computer, since he is the one with the magical camera and all. Of course, now that I have started writing in my blog again, I have developed all of these incredible plans of crafting and sewing and embroidering, which involve me purchasing somewhere around 20 yards of fabric that I don't really need unless I do end up completing these grand plans. Phew.  It's so exhausting, I wasn't able to make any progress this week, other than planning. I'm not even going to bother making promises—they will happen or they won't.

Anyway, back to the subject, which is one of my favorite subjects, might I add: food. Delicious, succulent, savory, sweet, rich, scrumptious, delectable, toothsome, wholesome FOOD. Food is one thing I can say with certainty that I would surely die without. Anyway, since I've made quite a lot of delightful and enticing treats, I figured I'd put in a cut, then begin my little food parade.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Do you remember that film, Chocolat, with Juliette Binoche as a charming chocalatier and Johnny Depp as a rapscallion manouche? I could probably watch that movie at least a million more times, and listen to the soundtrack at least three more times after that. I love seeing the creamy, luscious Johnny melted chocolate and the perfectly tempered chocolate sculptures, and that roasted chicken with the chocolate mole in that dinner scene. Now I'm getting hungry.

Anyway, I always think of that movie whenever I make chocolates. I haven't quite the same amount of skill—making chocolate from scratch using rocks or whatever is definitely out of my skill set. However, tempering and molding chocolates, and making truffles and chocolate-coated fruit? I can totally do that.

Oh yeah. Totally. 

I don't know what it is about Valentine's Day. I'm not really all that big on celebrating it. But I love it because it means it's that time of year when I make chocolates. :D So, in there we have regular chocolate truffles, bonbons with white dots on top that have mocha truffle inside them, striped/zig-zaggy bonbons that have butterscotch truffle in them, yin yang bonbons that have nutella in them (because my bf loves it and it was easy), pink marzipan hearts, chocolate-covered strawberries, and chocolate-covered cherries. 

The cherries were fun—I was thinking about making cherry cordials, but that involves a lot of effort and waiting a week and stuff like that, and seeing as I was making the chocolates the day of when I was planning on giving them to bf, I ended up just coating them in vanilla sugar and then chocolate. The result is absolutely scrumptious. Maybe if my bf reads this he will send me one of his fantastic closeups of the cherries, since my camera did a shoddy job, and his camera is made of magic and rainbows and generally takes good photos. Bf was definitely a fan of the cherries. Yesterday I suggested that I might make a double-layer box of just chocolate-covered cherries for him for his birthday, and he looked like he was going to cry with happiness. So I guess they're pretty good. 

ETA: Picture from bf! Huzzah.


Anyway, since I made bf chocolates, I also had to make him a card. I'm not the best at papercraft or love-dovey declarations of love-dovey-ness, but I figured I'd give it a shot using a piece of cardstock, a heart-shaped paper doily, and my paper cutter:

See. It's a heart! Folded in half! With things cut out of it! Magic!

I thought I did a pretty nifty job. I like simplicity, so I figure this worked out pretty well. No peeking for you at the love-dovey declarations of love-dovey-ness, though! :P I'm guessing my cat approved of either bf or my efforts, because she wouldn't go away when I tried taking pictures. (In the picture above, she is behind the card because of the way I angled myself.)

Or maybe she just likes being the center of attention 24/7. 

Speaking of cats, my other cat just clawed the crap out of my poor, legging-covered knee because it was absolutely imperative that she be on my lap RIGHT NEOW possibly because I was paying attention to the other cat via a computer screen. My poor legs.

Welp, I will probably post next week. Looks like Thursdays may or may not become a Thing. I make no promises. I've been doing a lot more work on my Tonner goddesses; a little at a time. Maybe I will post my progress next week. I've also been working on some silly embroidery that I might also post; I just need to finish the Q! But it's hard. :( Until next time!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

TomTom ThingThing the second

Well, hey there, blog. Didn't see you there! Ok, I've been pretty awful about posting. Let's just pretend I went through the whole apologizing spiel. I was laid off last November, and you would think that with all this extra time, I would be crafting my buns off. While I have been making a lot of things, I haven't really been finishing much. Plus, it feels like I have even less time now than I did before. I also feel like I now spend half my life cleaning, but that means that my apartment (and especially the craft room!!) is no longer a pit of chaos due to depression and general laziness. I still haven't finished organizing my craft workspace, but it's a big improvement.

Anyway, I wanted to share the first thing I did when I found out I was laid off:


The prototype TomTomThingThing most likely would have remained the only TomTom thing thing except for the fact that it was annoying to close and was made of really thin craft felt. Eventually I felt compelled to buy some luxuriously soft and thick felt from FitzFelt in 3mm turquoise.

Then I got laid off, and to distract myself immediately got to work! It was actually a great deal of fun to make, and I'm glad I practiced first with the crappy felt so that I figured out an approximate pattern without wasting expensive felt. I still have a bit left, and I'm not sure what I am going to do with it. Probably nothing. :P

I'm especially fond of the embroidery:

Flowers? Leaves? Not sure what they're supposed to be besides pretty.

Usually I draw patterns and then embroider them... this was all spur-of-the-moment freehand. Actually, I didn't really finish this until today... I'd been tucking the outer flap inside the case, and hoping it stays. Today I added the band and the sweet little antique button:

From the giant pile of buttons from my grandma. <3

Anyway, since it's almost Valentine's day, my annual chocolates should be coming up. (Did I ever post last year's??) So I will probably be posting that. Also, I will be hopefully posting all of those other things I have been working on.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Sorry, I haven't been posting. Or creating much. I have a couple entries that I have been meaning to write, but I haven't had the time or energy. I'm thinking that I will start knocking this down to once a week—twice a week was good at first but now I just don't have the time.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I should have posted today, and last Thursday, but I didn't. :( Sorry.

My company's knitting club meeting is tomorrow—I think I will finish my hat to replace the one that I lost last year. And then I will make a matching scarf! :D

Monday, July 26, 2010

Evil Princess Lady Barbie

So just to keep you on your toes, I've actually working on what I said I would work on in my last entry. Although I kind of forgot to post on Thursday.....

No matter!

Now there is actually something to post about! Ha!

I think sewing a villain doll is making me talk more like a villain in my head. And I write the way I speak. My apologies that you have to deal with this. Anyway, after two failed attempts (curses!) to create a bodice this morning, I got some coffee and finished the majority of the dress for Evil Princess Lady.

She looks evil, right??

The ribbon belt is a stand-in until I actually make one, which will be black. Although maybe I will use the ribbon somehow? I kind of like the contrast. I haven't really decided. I also haven't decided whether to give the dress sleeves—that's why the edges are unfinished on one side of the sleeves of the overdress. Everything needs to be ironed so that it doesn't stick out, and so that the seams are flat.

The underdress is actually two pieces, since sewing them together would have been too much work. No idea what the fabric for either is—it's all from my scraps. I think I might also add in some black embroidery on the black overdress. I know it won't photograph well, but I think it will look fancy and evil when I play with her in person.

And one more pic of her, for putting up with me so far. :P 

Monday, July 19, 2010

holy crap!

So I actually got some stuff done this weekend! 

First, and most importantly, I started to clean out my craft room, so it is no longer  the Pit Of Chaos, Cardboard, And Also Polystyrene, but the Home of Some Mild Cardboard-Related Chaos. Now I can walk out to my balcony without having to employ any wiggle maneuvers to get there. I still have a bunch of boxes though... how did I get so many!? If anyone needs some boxes (or giant pieces of cardboard), I am your go-to person right now. My floor is still covered in fleece scraps, though, because I finally finished the.....


I am FINALLY mailing these puppies out to the folks in the craft chain I am doing. They are so soft and cuddly. I want to keep one for myself. They are also sneaky!

Those sneaks snuck into my living room!

They are made of fleece, and their ears are held up with recycled cardboard. :P Their tails are little pom poms. I love their little bums tails, and I got a photo of one as it was running away!

bun bun bum bum

Anyway, I also did crazy hair and makeup this weekend, and took a bunch of photos, but I don't think that is the sort of thing I should post here... And I also started drafting out a dress for my Evil Princess Lady Barbie, from that Novel I Haven't Actually Written Yet. She should be easy, though—I'm only doing a partial repaint, and I am leaving her hair as-is. Gotta say, though, I am not a fan of the Model Muse bodies... chicken legs! And no bendy limbs! :( Hopefully her dress will be done by Thursday, or at least started.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I lied. No ninjas. Yet.

I have been really bad—I still haven't finished one of the ninja bunnies for the craft exchange I am doing! I finished one, but I don't want to post a picture until they are mailed out. Just in case.

I have done a little bit of cooking the past weekend. I made cupcakes for a fabulous housewarming:

I warned everyone that tasting my chocolate buttercream would ruin chocolate frosting for them for forever. But no one listened! They ate my delicious cupcakes anyway. :D
I can haz sprinkl?

Someone at the housewarming had my camera at some point, and took a couple of photos of my cupcakes. 

This one was my favorite.

Of course it makes my cupcake look way more tasty. -sigh-

I also made a mickey mouse pancake for the first time!
Pay no mind to the mushroom tin to the right.

But really that is all I did this weekend that was vaguely creative. I have been bad! Sorry. :(