Saturday, October 26, 2019

Changes for 2020

It's been a really great two years with my work getting lots of attention and meeting a lot of fellow bug-lovers, but I have made the decision to not take any custom orders in 2020. I have several reason for this, including missing writing patterns and having many projects I have not been able to finish (such as the patchwork puppy project) but the main reason that I am making changes is because, honestly, I have made myself rather ill  trying to keep up with all of the orders.  I am able to work fewer hours a day now and am falling further behind at a time of year when I should be getting even more than usual accomplished. I am so grateful for the work, but it has built up to a pace that I just can't keep up with. I need to gear down and feel like an artist again. 

I will continue to take orders through Dec 30, and they will be filled in the order they are received as always (which will take us a bit into 2020 at this point), but after that I will spend my time writing out patterns to some of these caterpillars I really don't want to make anymore (seriously- 20+ of the same thing is enough for me), so you can make them yourself or find somebody else to make it for you.  Mostly, though, I want to work on some one-of-kind insect sculptures and some more exotic caterpillars. I have a long list of things I want to make and it will be wonderful to see what I can achieve when there are no time constraints and no stress over disappointing customers because of a long wait.

I hope that you will still be interested in my work over the coming months. Your encouragement keeps me going. Will I go back to taking custom orders someday? Very possibly, though it will have to be limited. Will my new designs be for sale? Yes. I hope to pop a handful of things into my shop once a month. Please follow my Instagram for any future work and if you have a design of mine you'd really like to see as a pattern, be sure to comment below! 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Best Sandwich Ever and...

... my favorite Easy-Bake Side.

I am completely obsessed with this sandwich lately. I could eat it every day. It's quick and a little junky with just enough healthy components to make you not feel too guilty about it. You could leave off the butter and the cheese and it would be a lot less 'junky', but trust me when I say that the combination is amazing!

This all started because I bought some frozen vegan hamburger patties that, after just one, I decided were gross. They are a brand I usually like, but I had bought the wrong variety by accident. They had some ingredients and a texture that bothered me. I wasn't going to eat the rest of them, but I had these toppings that needed to be eaten. It turned out to be an amazing combination that, with a little tweaking, quickly became my favorite sandwich. The fact that it is super easy really helped it win that title.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Golden Mushroom Soup (Vegan)

Golden Mushroom Soup Braised Tofu
One of the things I have missed most since giving up meat almost 8 years ago is Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup. It was always really great with a grilled cheese sandwich. Unfortunately, it is made with beef broth, so was out of the question for an herbivore. Today I decided, since I had some very lovely mushrooms, to try to make some. I searched  online for a copycat recipe that I could veganize.

While looking for recipes, I found several that were for braising meat with the soup, so I decided this would work great with some crispy tofu. And I was right! What a delicious meal this was along with some doctored up canned green beans (recipe for that below as well). I wish I had taken the time to make some rice as well, but as usual, I was really hungry and feeling the clock ticking on crocheting I needed to get back to. More so than usual this year as my custom order queue is twice as full as last year. (And here I am writing a blog post instead of working- oops!)

This recipe is based almost verbatim on one I found on a website called Mushroom Appreciation- it's a neat little resource for growing your own  mushrooms- something I would never have time for. I altered it just a little to accommodate plant-based foods and to leave out things that I didn't like or normally use. Wine, for example. I don't really keep wine on hand as I don't have time to be even a little bit foggy-headed. Wine is for special occasions. Also, I halved the recipe because I wasn't sure how long it would be good and knew I couldn't eat that much in a day or two.

Anyway... here it goes!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Benjamin Bunny Hat

My grandson loves the Peter Rabbit and Friends cartoon and every time he watches it I think 'someday I will make Benjamin Bunny's hat!'. Being a much slower knitter than crocheter, and really wanting to squeeze in a couple of presents before Christmas, I decided to do a crochet version.

The colors of my hat are not quite accurate as I had this really plush apple green that I wanted to use. The hat would look great in any combination of colors, with or without the ears. It is a very thick and warm hat, and very stretchy, so should fit for quite a while!

It is very important that you make a gauge swatch before beginning this hat and adjust your hook size accordingly. A 15sc by 18 or so row swatch should do it. I measured it relaxed and unblocked to record the gauge, so you will want to do the same. I used Aran weight yarn for my hat shell, so got pretty big stitches from my hook/yarn combo. Keep that in mind as you are choosing a yarn and trying to match gauge. If you choose a Worsted Weight, you will most likely have to go up a hook size or two.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

General Tso's Broccoli Tofu

This dish has quickly become a favorite. It's surprisingly easy to make and very filling. Paired with some veggie spring rolls or a simple Asian slaw, it's quite an impressive dish for  company without keeping you all evening in the kitchen. This dish is pretty versatile, too. You can substitute any veg that you prefer- and cook it to your preference before adding the sauce. It  works really well with frozen veg if you are like me and hate running to the shops for fresh veg every few days.

I've been experimenting making my own Oriental sauces lately. For me, a store-bought bottle of sauce, besides being expensive and full of things I can't pronounce, always seems like too much sauce for one recipe but not enough sauce for 2 recipes so then the extra sits in the fridge for weeks until you forget how long it's been in there and are afraid to use it. So, basically, you've spent $5+ for a bottle of sauce and thrown away 30% of it. If you can make a gravy, then making a sauce is easy peasy. If you have yet cooked a liquid until thickened then it's probably time to start! 

As with most of my recipes, I have taken bits of recipes from here and there and adjusted to my liking or to the ingredients I tend to have on hand. Feel free to make it sweeter or tangier or spicier to suit your tastes! After making this a few times, I have toned down the sugar and the vinegar to get a less intense sauce.