Thursday, February 11, 2010


Sorry to keep all of you waiting with bated breath! Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the blog party and sent their well wishes to Marie.

So, I'll keep it brief - thanks to the ever so helpful random list pickers, the winner of my Secret Stash Giveaway is Lora! She wrote:

I'm nearby (in the DC area) also awaiting another snow hit. All the snow just keeps piling up everywhere, don't know what to do with it all! Love the playlist!

Lora, expect an email from me about your prize! And thanks again, friends.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Well, it obviously isn't a birthday party without cake. To continue the party for Marie-Jolie's birthday in collaboration with Permission to Unwind, I thought I'd share two of my favorite cake recipes.

First off, head on over to The Kitchn to check out their Harvest Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting. This cake is reminiscent of a hearty carrot cake, but with less of the sugar. And oh, it's so so delicious.

Or if you're a vegan like Marie, try out my favorite recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting. They're my birthday specialty, and I have brought these with me to more than a few birthday parties (along with a bottle of champagne) to rave reviews.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and extracts to the soy milk mixture and beat together until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to the wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain.

Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • several tablespoons soy milk
Soften the peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Beat the peanut butter using an electric mixer, adding the confectioner's sugar in 3 parts. When the frosting gets thick, add around 1 tablespoon of soy milk. Use enough milk to reach your desired consistency.

Being trapped indoors for the snowstorm (and oh, it's coming down already!), I think I'll be making some of these cupcakes tonight. Paired with a glass of sparkling wine, a toast to Marie-Jolie on a lovely birthday blog party!

ps, Don't forget to leave a comment on any of today's posts to be entered in the Secret Stash Giveaway. I'll be closing the comments at 12pm EST tomorrow, giving everyone a full 24 hours from my first PTU Blog Party post to leave a note. Good luck, friends! :)


The party's still going... and I wanted to give everyone a hint of the types of things that might end up in the Secret Stash Giveaway grab-bag! In honor of the Permission to Unwind blog party, simply leave a comment on any of my posts today to be entered in the contest. Don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you. Once a winner is selected at random, I'll chat with you about your crafting and your likes and dislikes to receive a package tailor-made for you. My crafting stash is so full of fun things, I'm sure I'll have something for everyone, whether it's yarn, fabric, notions, handmade goodies, and a little something special.

Those recipes are coming up, I promise! And wish the lovely Marie a happy day while you're at it!


Happy birthday, Marie-Jolie!
Time to start the blog festivities...

Being snowed in, I'm in need of some partying! So it's the perfect time to begin the festivities for Marie-Jolie over at Permission to Unwind. And check out my fellow party animals's blogs for even more fun!

Whenever I'm planning a party, the first thing I like to do is start sorting a playlist. This one has a nice mix of low-key tunes for chatting with cupcakes in hand, along with some more upbeat songs to get everyone dancing. And don't worry, there are plenty of hand-claps to go around!

Also, it certainly isn't a party without favors - and today in honor of the party, BMORE CRAFTY is having a Secret Stash PTU Giveaway! Simply leave a comment on this post today and you're entered in the drawing. Please include your email address so I can contact you if you're the lucky one. I'm not revealing the prize until I name a winner, but be assured that if you're a crafty person, you'll love this little grab-bag of goodies.

Up next, I'll be sharing some of my favorite party recipes, so stick around today and keep the party rolling!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Hello dear friends, I've been MIA on the blog-front for a few days thanks to the blizzard of the century, otherwise referred to as Snowpocalypse 2k10. 30" of snow here, with +10" expected in the next two days... Mother Nature, I'm sorry for ever doubting you, but give us a break! But being snowbound has its perks, so I've been cooking up a storm, catching up on my Netflix queue, and of course knitting away. I have a Turn a Square nearing completion and just started a pretty purple and blue Damson for my mom. And who cares about the snow, because tomorrow there's a party!

The lovely Marie-Jolie is celebrating her birthday this year with a blog party, and of course, BMORE CRAFTY is in on the fun! So check in tomorrow for all sorts of fun happenings!

Friday, February 5, 2010


It's not often that I receive many knitting-related gifts, even though I spend so much of my time talking about and thinking about yarn. This is mainly because my family and close friends aren't crafters, and wouldn't have the slightest idea of where to begin. Usually I have to accompany my well-intentioned friends to the yarn store and choose a few items for myself, and I certainly cannot complain. And even though I doubt anything could top that boatload of Turkish yarn I received this past summer, I admit that a small yarny surprise would be nice every once in a while. But the people in my life rarely disappoint, and this winter has been plentiful with some knitty surprises.

From Knitting, etc.

It all began with my work supervisors, who shocked me with a holiday skein of local buffalo yarn from a nearby farm. I later learned that there were multiple buffalo farms in Maryland (I must be living under a rock!) and have planned to pay them all a visit when warmer weather arrives. I imagine this yarn will be perfect for a Springtime in Philadelphia beret. Many thanks to Missy and Jim for that completely unexpected gift - and Missy writes an excellent genealogy blog, so do give it a visit!

From Knitting, etc.

My parents also gave me the most excellent Christmas gift ever (aside from incredibly nice pajamas) - a drop spindle and hand-dyed batt from Pancake and Lulu! Although I haven't tried it out yet (mainly because I want to read the guides about twenty more times before I attempt it), I'm really excited since it's the first step to handspinning.

The final gift has yet to arrive, as if I need anything else. I won a special prize from Yellow Dog Knitting as their 500th follower on Twitter. I will be receiving yarn and a pattern for mittens in the coming days, so come back to check it out.

Monday, February 1, 2010


From Knitting, etc.

Nine times out of ten, I give away the things that I knit. It admittedly brings me great joy to share my craft with the people in my life, and hopefully they'll appreciate the time and effort required to turn a ball of yarn into a wearable, useful item. But I admit, it doesn't always turn out the way you plan. You imagine the recipient opening the box, eyes wide and mouth agape, instead of a hesitant, "...Oh, you made this."

But it's not their fault. Non-crafters don't realize that good yarn might cost $10+ a skein or that we can't whip up a pair of fair isle mittens while watching a few episodes of The Office. And I realize that I'm a showoff. I want people to be shocked and amazed at my abilities. I create gifts because I'm a sap, and I want my loved ones think of me every time they put on the scarf or mittens or hat that I made specifically for them with my own hands.

From Knitting, etc.

With all of this said, sometimes you just have to make something for yourself. It was with that thought in mind that I bought a single skein of Farmhouse Yarns' Cotton Blossom Yarn by Dixie at Purl Soho amid a pile of yarn for baby gifts. The seafoam green colorway was subtle, soft, and full of texture. I knew I didn't need a fancy pattern, just a basic garter stitch to show off the yarn, so I picked the impossibly easy wham bam thank you lamb cowl neckwarmer. I'll share a few gratuitous pictures of myself wearing it - check out that texture! I'm sure this will make regular appearances in my wardrobe.

From Knitting, etc.

From Knitting, etc.

More de-stashing to come soon!