Saturday, July 25, 2015

Slow Cooker Pineapple Glazed Ham

Again, without looking for them, I came across a treasure trove of slow cooker recipes.

While I didn't take note of the original site, each recipe was marked with the site it originated from. This recipe, Slow Cooker Pineapple Glazed Ham, supposedly originated from Sixsistersstuff. I say supposedly not to be snarky, but when I went there tonight to direct link to it, I couldn't find it on their site.

Anyway, here it is:

  • 4 thick pieces of boneless ham, fully cooked
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 20 oz crushed pineapple, not drained
  • 2 T Dijon mustard (optional)--I didn't have Dijon but I did substitute a healthy squirt of regular yellow mustard. It was probably only 1 T though.
Mix ingredients together and cook on high for three hours, or low for 5-6 hours. Since my slow cooker is a handful of years old, it cooks everything fairly quickly and on too high a temperature. I've realized that for a recipe like this (where your meat or main ingredient should already be cooked), I can use the "keep warm" setting on my slow cooker. It basically cooks for you on a lower low setting, so I had this going today for about 7-8 hours.

Full disclosure here: I don't really like ham or pineapple. But I did like the end results of this recipe. I was looking for something easy to make, and something in which I already had all the ingredients. After having company for about 2 1/2 weeks, I wasn't about to hit the grocery store again. I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

I think this is actually going to be a keeper recipe, to be made again at another time. If you make a ham for a big dinner, something spiral cut and you've got leftovers, this could be a good recipe to dig out when you're looking for another way to prepare the leftovers.

Friday, July 24, 2015

An Adventure With Jake the Dog and a New Pattern

My time with Jake the Dog was short lived. I'd like to think he's off on an adventure of his own, making his way back to the Land of Ooo, to find Finn and the treehouse.

What really happened is that the little shit fell off my backpack this morning, somewhere on my way to work. Oh well, I've got more yellow yarn (Thanks, Tammy!), so I'll make myself a new Jake. A bigger Jake. A Jake that I won't hang on my backpack.

Until then, I've got my girl, Cake the Cat, here to keep me company. I finished writing this pattern tonight, and she was inspired by Mia Handcrafter's original pattern for Jake. If you make it, let me know what you think. I have to say already, just from looking at her, I should have made her arms and legs a little shorter.

Every aspect of Cake was a stashbuster for me. Good Lord, I realized I'm a fairly serious packrat when then it comes to artsy fartsy supplies!


 Materials:
·         E sized crochet hook
·         Stitch marker
·         White yarn, medium weight
·         Dark tan yarn, medium weight
·         Felt and matching thread: white, black, pink, and dark tan
·         Straight sewing needle
·         Curved sewing needle
·         Tapestry needle
·         Straight pins
·         Scissors
·         Ruler
·         Ink pen
·         Fiber Fill

Finished size: 9" tall

NOTE: Remember to leave long lengths of yarn at the end of your pieces. You can use them to attach the pieces to the body. Don’t cut any lengths until you’re finished. You can weave those ends into the piece for extra security.

Ears: Make two ears with tan yarn.
Row 1: ch 6
Rows 2-3: Turn, and starting in second chain from hook, work 1 sc in each stitch across. For row 3, chain 1 when turning.
Row 4: Turn, chain 1,  work first 2 sc tog, last 2 sc tog, and 1 sc in the stitches between.
Row 5: Turn, chain 1,  work first 2 sc tog ,1 sc in the middle stitch and the last 2 sc tog.
Row 6: Turn, chain 1,  work first and then the last 2 sc tog.
Row 7: Turn, chain 1, work first 2 sc tog and 1 sc in remaining stitch. Finish off and leave a long tail for sewing.  
Sew a smaller triangle of pink felt to the inside of each ear with whip stitches (start by putting your straight needle through the felt first, and then stitch around the triangle, coming up through the yarn from behind and down through the front of the felt, working with small (tiny) evenly spaced stitches). Directions can also be found here.

Body: white yarn
Round 1: 7 sc in magic ring--If you don't know how to do the magic ring, it's super easy and you can find directions for it here.
Round 2: Work the remaining body in rounds from here on out. 2 sc in each stitch
Round 3: sc, inc (repeat)
Round 4: sc, sc, inc (repeat)
Round 5-21: sc in each sc (repeat)

Midway through Cake’s body, sew on the spot underneath where her right ear will go (see below). Then, attach the left ear  with the extra yarn and the tapestry needle, so they are standing up. Look at the picture of Cake on this pattern and the hole from your starting magic ring to help with the placement. (Note: you may notice the ears on my Cake are different. I thought she had one white ear and one tan ear. This was wrong.)

For Cake’s right ear, because of the spot underneath it, you might have to use needle and thread to attach it, instead of yarn. Or, you can put the right ear first for placement with the extra yarn, and then cut a slight edge out of the spot to place it around her ear.

Round 22: sc,  sc, dec (repeat) --Start stuffing the body. After the body is stuffed and stitched shut, you can always give her a little squeeze or two to readjust her shape and the filling density.
Round 23: sc, dec (repeat)--Finish stuffing to your liking  (I like firmly packed toys)
Round 24: dec (repeat until bottom of body is closed. If you run out of enough room for your hook, work a slip stitch and fasten off the yarn Thread the tapestry needle with the tail and weave it through the last row and pull tight like a drawstring.) Once completed, fasten off yarn.

Tan Spots:
This is where you need the 360 degree picture of Cake (in this pattern). Her spots are going to be cut out of the tan felt and then whip stitched on to Cake’s body with the curved needle and matching thread. You might want to trace out the pieces first with a pen on the felt and then cut them out instead of free handing them. You might want to pin these to Cake’s body as you work on them. I was able to hold the felt in place with my left hand, and sew them on with my right hand, without needing pins.
·         2” circle to go over the right side of Cake’s face
·         1 ½” x ½” kidney bean shape to go on the middle of Cake’s back
·         2 ½” x 1 ½” oval to go on Cake’s belly and wrap slight under the bottom rows of her body (but not up onto her back)

Eyes:
Cut two ¾” circles out of white felt

Cut two thin ovals (1/2” tall x ¼” or narrower wide) out of black felt. Sew the pupils to the center of the white felt  first (do a couple of stitches straight down the center of the black, instead of trying to whip stitch the edges), and then sew the completed eye (with vertical pupils) to Cake’s face. On the right hand side of her face, the eye should overlap the tan spot some. The whites should not touch each other in the center of her face (keep about ½” apart). The outside edges of the whites should be outside the edges of tan spot on her chest.

Mouth/Nose:
Cut one 7/8" x 1/2" oval out of the tan felt.

Using the black thread, embroider on a small black oval nose in the center of the oval. (I actually made another mistake on my Cake and gave her a triangle nose.) Underneath, embroider on a small kitty smile.

Whip stitch the tan piece to Cake's face with the matching thread. It should overlap both of her eyes, and her nose should line up with the bottom of the whites of her eyes, but not touch the spot on her tummy.

Left Arm:
Round 1: Starting with the white yarn, leave a long length of yarn and chain 9. Switch to tan yarn and chain 5 and turn.
Round 2: Working in the second chain from the hook, work 4 sc along the tan section. Switch back to white sc’s to match the first row. Ch 1 and turn.
Round 3: Work 1 sc in each stitch along the white section. Switch back to tan sc’s to match Cake’s paw. Ch 1 and turn.
Round 4: Repeat round 2
Round 5: Repeat round 3. At this point, it may start to look like an unwrapped cigarette paper.
Round 6: Repeat round 2.
Round 7: Repeat round 3. Secure yarn with a slip stitch.
Roll the yarn into a tube and whip stitch the length of tube closed with matching yarn. The tan section is Cake's left paw.

Right Arm:
Round 1: Starting with the white yarn, leave a long length of yarn and chain 5. Switch to tan yarn and chain 5. Switch to the white yarn again and chain 4 and turn.
Rounds 2-7: Match up the color of the stitches in each row. When completed, roll the yarn closed like you did with Cake's left arm. The smaller white section is Cake's right paw.

(Note: if you have a hard time getting the color changes done correctly for Cake's arms and legs, you can crochet them compeltely in white, and then sew on felt spots.)

When sewing Cake's arms on, line them up with the top of the oval spot on her tummy and the outside edge of her ears.

Tail:
Cut out two pieces from the white felt, with three bushy areas, like shown in the picture. The entire length should be about 3 1/2" long. (Think foxy and bushy.)

Cut two pieces from the tan felt, to cover the ends of the bushy areas, like shown in the picture.

Sew the tan pieces to the white pieces, but only whip stitch on the inside edges of the tan. Because there are two sides to Cake's tail, you will need to sew them on opposite sides of the white felt.

Once you have the tan edges sewn to the white, lay the tail pieces together, insides together, with just a bit of Fiber Fill in between. Whip stitch the tan parts together first, and then stitch the white parts. Leave the narrowest end of the white felt open and unstitched.

Sew on Cake's tail on the center of her rump, low on her body, with the white thread.




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jake the Dog Amigurumi Keychain

For about two years now, I've had a pattern bookmarked from Mia's Atelier and I finally got around to making it tonight: a key chain of Jake the Dog from "Adventure Time."

This is my little Jake here. Since I wasn't able to make mine the way Mia mad her's, I had to improvise a little bit. The link above is to her pattern. My notes are here.

There's nothing wrong with Mia's pattern. It's just that I don't have as small of crochet hooks as she does.

How I made my Jake:
I used an E sized hook for everything. (when I did have those tiny hooks, trying to use them just about killed my hand.) You'll also want to use a stitch marker for Jake's body. Unless otherwise indicated, I used one strand of yarn at a time.

Pattern:
Body:
Row 1: 6 sc in magic ring--If you don't know how to do the magic ring, it's super easy and you can find directions for it here.
Row 2: Work the remaining body in rounds from here on out. 2 sc in each stitch Round 3: sc, inc 
Rows 4-15: sc in each sc--I made my Jake a little longer than the original pattern. After the body is stuffed and stitched shut, you can always give him a little squeeze or two to readjust his shape and the filling density.
Row 11: sc, dec --Start stuffing the body. Because it uses such a small amount of filling, I just stuffed him with the same yellow yarn I used to make him. The nice thing about this version of stuffing: the inside of the body will be super stringy with will be good when you are attaching (and knotting ends) his appendages. I didn't need any glue here.
Row 12: dec
Secure with a slip stitch and finish off.

Mouth:
I used two lengths of yellow yarn at one time. If I had been making a larger Jake, then I would have loved to make the mouth the way that Mia made it: as a yarny tube. Awesome idea!
Row 1: Chain 8.
Row 2: Turn and starting in the second chain from the hook, work 1 sc in each stitch. Fasten off yarn with a slip stitch and leave a long tail for sewing.

Ears:
I used two lengths of yellow yarn at one time.
Row 1: ch 3, sc 2 (2)
Finish off and leave a long tail for sewing. When you sew them on, attach them so they hang down, like floppy ears.

Hands and arms:
I used two lengths of yellow yarn at one time.
Row 1: Chain 8.
Row 2: Working in the second chain from the hook, work the following: 1 sc, 1 slip stitch, 1 sc, secure the yarn with a slip stitch, and then fasten off the yarn.
Finish off. Leave a long tail, which will be his arm and it will be used to sew it to the body. For the lengths left over in his hand, separate the yarn and weave them individually through his paw.

Feet and legs:
Row 1: Leave a long tail and chain 9.
Row 2: Working in the second chain from the hook, work the following: 1 sc, 1 slip stitch, 1 sc, secure the yarn with a slip stitch, and then fasten off the yarn. Leave a long tail, which will be his arm and it will be used to sew it to the body. For the lengths left over in his paw, separate the yarn and weave them individually through the center of his foot and leg, in order to make a 90 degrees angle.

Tail:
Row 1: ch 4

Row 2: Working in the second chain from the hook, work 1 sc in each stitch across.  Finish off and leave a long tail for sewing. When you attach Jake's tail, sew it to his rump vertically, so you can put each strand through a separate stitch hole.

Then just follow Mia's directions for putting Jake together. I used white felt sewn onto black felt for his eyes, because I didn't want to be heavy handed with white paint and I knew that's what would happen.

I made mini-Jake to hang from the zipper on a backpack I keep in my scooter. Yeah, because a 41 year old woman on a scooter isn't odd enough, she needs a mini yellow bull dog! The funny thing about this ami is that his arms and legs get all wonky because they are just short chains of yarn, which makes him look more like his cartoon version.

BTW, because of Mia's pattern for Jake, I've started writing a pattern of my own for Cake! It should be up in a few days. I'm excited about it because it's been a while since I wrote an entire pattern.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finished One More Hood

Wow, it's really kind of amazing what can be accomplished once you do a little bitching! :) It wasn't just me though. I think Nicole the Knitter may have laid down some law with her friends.

So here is the most recent hood, just finished tonight. This is a bear hoodie.

It was almost two skeins of Caron Simply Soft in Charcoal Heather (#9508), some random brown from Tammy (probably Red Heart), a little bit of black furry yarn (also from Tammy), and a couple of wooden buttons from Mom's stash again. I made this one with a little more of a cowl collar than the fox hood, because I didn't want them to be the same body.

I liked this color yarn (Nicole picked it out), and it was made using the same pattern as the previous hood. The interesting thing about this color is that in real life, it's much more of a true charcoal color, rather than the bluish tint that's shown here (the flash was needed).

Before I added the brown, I actually considered using an off-white and regular white. I got two rows in with that, and it really changed the overall appearance of the charcoal. It actually made it look blue in real life, like in the photos. I've never seen "Frozen," but that original color combo made me think of Elsa for some weird reason. I ripped out the off white and regular white, and went straight for the brown.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Fre Thot

I saw this graffiti this morning on the way to work. for some reason, I thought this was terribly funny.