Tuesday, July 31, 2012

anna knits - union jack tea cosy update 5

The London Olympics are in full swing, so it is fitting that I finally finished my union jack tea cosy! The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download here.
I am giving this cosy to my friend Mara who is movie to the UK for grad school this fall. Everyone in England uses an uber patriotic tea cosy, right?
This was a really fun project that I highly recommend to anyone looking to practice intarsia, but I am also glad to be done. Time to sit back and watch some gymnastics!

You can see my progress herehere, here, and here

Monday, July 30, 2012

anna cooks - leftover mashed potatoes

Last night I made pesto mashed potatoes. They were delicious, and I had leftovers so I decided to eat them again tonight. Instead of just heating them up though, I made a summer version of Giada's Eggs in Purgatory. I was lazy and just fried the potatoes as is, instead of adding flour and egg. I also used fresh tomatoes, instead of tomato sauce. Very good!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

anna knits - knit pug update 4

Here are 3 things I learned from assembling my knit pug from the book Knit Your Own Dog. I found the pattern to be pretty easy to follow, but there were still some things that were ambiguous. These are my tips:

1. Nose: Don't freak out about the nose. All you have to do is pinch the face together and fold it up to create the signature pug nose. Here is a video that demonstrates this technique.
2. Stuffing: I actually wish I had stuffed my pug a bit more, especially in the chest. The legs can also be liberally stuffed, since they are what keeps the pug standing. I used Fairfield Poly-Fil Premium Polyester Fiber stuffing. 
3. Seams: The seams were a challenge for me. I had never done mattress stitch before. I used this video to learn how to do the stitch, and then just went off pictures. I want to work more on this aspect if I make another pug. 

My next knit pug will definitely be a black pug, like this guy by hiro25neko.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

anna knits - knit pug update 3

I finished my knit pug from the book Knit Your Own Dog.

Thanks to all the people on Ravelry who shared pictures of their knit pugs. It really helped with assembly, which was definitely the hardest part. I'll post some of my tips for assembly in my next post. Here's an idea of my process:

It is a little hard to get my knit pug to stand, so I'm thinking of turning him into a christmas ornament!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

anna knits - knit pug update 2

Excuse me while I tie together some loose ends...

That's better...

This knit pug is taking a little longer than I had hoped, but I am in the final stretch. I hope to finish in the next day or two. Check back soon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

blogging, etc. - small blog button

Check out my new small blog button!

             200x60 pixels

I hope to have a tutorial up soon for how to create your own custom blog button. Happy blogging!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

anna cooks - going vegan and not

My roommate and I had some friends over for dinner last Sunday. One of our guests was Yifan Luo, the author of the vegan food/ fitness blog, vegandurance. As you may have guessed from her blog, Yifan is a practicing vegan.

As a host cooking for a mixed crowd of vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters, deciding what to cook was even harder than usual. I ended up going with a vegetarian main-course that could be served vegan or not, depending on if you added cheese.

Since I had been craving pasta, I turned to an old Giada De Laurentiis family favorite: Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree. The recipe is available on the Food Network website, and is very easy to follow. 

I paired the pasta with a coleslaw I made using a light dressing of (vegan version) white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, and (added only to not vegan version) a little mayonnaise.

The dinner was lots of fun, and I'm excited to try out some new vegan recipes in the future! I might start with Yifan's recipe for Raw Kale Fuel Bars (did I mention she is a triathlete!) on the blog Yum Universe.

Monday, July 23, 2012

crochet, etc. - food covers

With summer in full swing, I have been making an effort to eat outside as much as possible. There is something about dining al fresco that feels so right - or maybe it is just the Italian in me. Outdoor eating does pose its own set of problems, though, which is why I was excited to find this free pattern for crochet food covers on the blog Lululoves.

I love the way the tassels fall over the sides of the bowl! I am going to have some extra cotton yarn when I finally finish my union jack tea cosy that I think will be perfect for this project.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

anna cooks - crepe bar

Yesterday, a few of my friends from college and I got together to skype a mutual friend who is living in Paris. Before the skype date, I cooked a mini parisian brunch for us. I decided to set up a crepe bar, where guests could fill their freshly made crepe with whatever fillings they wanted. I just pulled out whatever I had on hand, but you could substitute your favorite crepe fillings. Here's what I laid out:

Anna's Crepe Bar

- Nutella (I got mine at Venda Raviloi in Providence, RI - they import it from Italy, and it really is better than the stuff they sell at American supermarkets)
- Fresh strawberries
- Fresh bananas
- Parisian honey
- Granulated sugar
- Butter
- Marmalade 

I used a basic crepe recipe from allrecipes.com, to which I added a little vanilla. The secret is I made the batter the day before and let it rest overnight. I then used a non-stick pan to cook my crepes, which worked perfectly. 

While I was looking for tips on the internet about how to make the perfect crepe, I found a post from the blog theKitchn on how to make perfect crepes

The blog interviewed pastry chef Jehnee Rains who suggests putting beer in your crepe batter. Very intriguing. I might have to try that at my next crepe bar. You can find her recipe here

Thursday, July 19, 2012

anna knits - knit pug update 1

A few weeks ago I shared a book called Knit Your Own Dog that I had gotten as a gift. I finally got around to starting my knit pug project - since my union jack tea cosy is on hold while I wait for more yarn to arrive - and wanted to share my progress.

I am using super small size 2US needles, but this yarn is very easy to work with. Here you see Rowan Yarn Cashsoft 4 Ply from Jimmy Beans Wool in Elite 451 and Black 422.

I have never knitted a toy before, and I am a little worried about putting it all together, but it is a fun project so far. I am even thinking about turning it into a little pug christmas ornament!

Next time I'll have to make an all black one like my parents' pug Maeby! She's a cute one. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

patterns, etc. - union jack

Since I have been a little slow with my union jack tea cosy - (I ran out of red yarn and I'm waiting for a new yarn shipment!) - I decided to post some union jack products instead. In addition, the London Olympics are coming up, so this post is a great way to get in the spirit!

I love this union jack gift wrap and gift tags by Sophia Victoria Joy. I originally saw it on the blog Paper Crave, which always has great posts.

If I didn't already have plans this weekend, I would love to take this Jubilee Jamboree Pillow Class at the Cambridge craft shop Gather Here

You can see my union jack tea cosy progress here, here, here and here

Monday, July 16, 2012

blogging etc. - removing shadow boxes and borders

I am new to blogging, so it was nice to find blogger to be so user friendly. When I started anna knits, etc., I was happy with the Simple template I chose as it was. But as I got more advanced in my blogging, I started to want to add images without the shadow box or border that surrounded all images in my Simple template.

With shadow box and border:

Without shadow box or border:

After some searching on the internet, I discovered that you can easily do this by adding some CSS code. I wanted to share how to do this in case anyone else was trying to do the same thing. I got my directions from the stie Helper Blogger

Here's what you do:
1. Go to Blogger Dashboard -> Template -> Customize
2. Click on Advanced -> Add CSS
3. Paste the following CSS code into the box:

.post-body img, .post-body .tr-caption-container, .Profile img, .Image img,
.BlogList .item-thumbnail img {
    padding: none !important;
    border: none !important;
    background: none !important;
    -moz-box-shadow: 0px 0px 0px transparent !important;
    -webkit-box-shadow: 0px 0px 0px transparent !important;
    box-shadow: 0px 0px 0px transparent !important;

4. Click Apply to Blog.

You should be free of the shadow boxes and borders! For more blogging tips, see my post on social media buttons here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

swim, etc. - albertine

I am on Block Island this weekend, which has gotten me thinking about swim suits. I am currently obsessed with this photograph bikini from the french label Albertine.

I originally heard about Albertine on the blog Greedy Girl, which I follow on bloglovin.

This suit in particular reminds me of the work of photographer Richard Misrach. A few years ago he had a show at the National Gallery called On the Beach, which consisted of large scale photographs of beach goers in Hawaii, taken from above via a high rise hotel room. You can see a slideshow of On the Beach here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

anna cooks - pasta fritta

My roommate made a wonderful pasta dinner for us two nights ago. She used fresh pasta and a sweet pepper and olive sauce from Williams-Sonoma, which she had gotten as a gift. There was some pasta left over so the next day I decided to make pasta fritta, or fried pasta.

I first saw this recipe on the show David Rocco's Dolce Vita on the Cooking Channel. I then bought his book, which included the recipe. It is a very easy dish, devised by Italians to use up leftovers, but it is truly delicious.

Pasta Fritta - A Photo Recipe.
The exact ingredients and measurements can be found here.




Here is the clip from David Rocco's show where I originally saw this recipe:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

blogging, etc. - social media buttons

I came across the blog Her New Leaf today, which has a bunch of cool design tips for bloggers under the header Primp My Blog.

I was particularly excited to find some freebie social media network buttons for download with a design that I LOVE. I have been looking for a while for some cute buttons to replace the standard ones I had on the right side of anna knits, etc., but I hadn't been able to find anything quite right. These buttons are simple but cute and I am so happy with how it turned out.

Old vs. New Buttons

The new buttons shown above come in sets of ten for different social media outlets. They are available in a variety of colors, including clementine, butter, ocean, cobalt, and glacier (shown above). You can also purchase other Primp My Blog designed buttons on Etsy here. I really like the gold glitter buttons.  
I also really like these hand painted watercolor social media buttons from The Ink Nest on Etsy. They are so whimsical. 

Primp My Blog even has a great post explaining step-by-step how to add social media buttons to your sidebar here.

I was thinking about designing my own social media icons, but I really couldn't have done it better myself -- thank you, Kira at Her New Leaf!

Monday, July 9, 2012

art, etc. - 20x200

I love the website 20x200. It seeks to sell limited-edition prints and photographs at affordable prices, with new pieces available each week. Everyday I get an email from them highlighting different works. I really liked today's Paris themed email.

In honor of Bastille Day, 20x200 is offering free shipping on any two or more prints. Just enter the code OUIOUI at checkout. Get um while you can! Offer expires 7/14/2012.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

beach, etc. - block island 07.12

I spent the weekend on Block Island. I swam in the ocean, read on the beach, and ate a lot of good food - what more could you ask for? Can you spot the BI ferry in the picture below?

When I wasn't in a bathing suit, I got to wear one of my favorite summer looks - beach chic. Here's one of my outfits:

- maxi dress: urban outfitters (last summer)
- hoop earrings: j. crew outlet
- fun scarf: The Glass Onion, Block Island (see it here too!)
- beachy cuff: The Glass Onion, Block Island

I like to keep the accessories simple and summery.

I am especially excited about this fish cuff I bought while on the island. It is from the Block Island store The Glass Onion.

I paired this outfit with my favorite Reef sandals - still a little dusty from the beach!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

anna knits, etc. - union jack tea cosy update 4

I have been very busy with starting a new job, but I wanted to give an update on my union jack tea cosy. After taking a little break from knitting, I finally got around to finishing one of the interior pieces.

Now I just have the second interior piece to knit, and the edges to sew up, and I'll be done! Since I may need to order more Cascade Cotton Rich DK Yarn in Rococco Red (3646) - or just some new yarn for other fun projects - I was excited to see that Royal Yarns is having a summer sale! Coupon code: Thanks.

You can see my progress here, here, and here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

anna parties, etc. - 4th of July s'mores

Happy fourth of July! I made a batch of s'mores of a stick for a fireworks watching party I'm hosting. See how I did it here. I got the patriotic tooth picks from iparty.

Monday, July 2, 2012

anna gifts, etc. - birthday party in a bag

A few months ago I sent a birthday party in a box. This past weekend, I sent a smaller version to a dear friend - a birthday party in a bag.

I originally got the idea from the blog You Are My Fav, which has a bunch of themed box ideas. It is a great way to jazz up a card you are sending to a long-distance friend, and it is completely customizable

Content includes:

- Noise maker
- Happy Birthday Balloon
- Beaded necklace
- Card
- Tissue Paper
- Blank business card that I turned into a mini birthday announcement

~ Happy Birthday, Jessica! ~

Sunday, July 1, 2012

biking, etc.

I spent the weekend on Block Island, which meant a lot of biking. Ok, so I didn't  actually do any biking myself, but I witnessed a lot of biking. Recently, I have seen a lot of bike inspired knitwear. It may even get me to start to do some biking myself. Here are some of my favorite examples:

I snapped a photo of this amazing yarn bombed bike parked across from the White House at the Renwick Gallery last summer.

I am obsessed with this crochet skirt guard by Just-Do, which was featured on an Etsy Finds email sent out today.

I originally saw this knit-cked out bike on the blog one sheepish girl. I love the colors - it makes sense that the blog it is from is called Greedy for Colour!

This bike bow from the Etsy store Mischief Managed Knits is super cute!

~ Bike / knit on! ~
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