July 2012


Guiness Chocolate CupcakesSo it was my knitting guild’s birthday month, which meant that we have potluck for our meeting. I decided to make Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese frosting as my treat. I used this recipe for the cupcakes. They turned out really well, very dense and chocolatey and people at the meeting really liked them. I would change one thing about the recipe next time though. I would probably add the sugar to eggs/sour cream/beer mixture, and then add rest of the dry ingredients. I feel like it might give a better texture. Maybe not though. It’s something I’d like to try.

I can’t stand butter cream frosting, so I decided to make cream cheese icing instead of using the icing on the website.

My standard cream cheese icing is really easy. I just take 8 ounces of cream cheese and beat it until it’s soft and creamy. Then I add powdered sugar to the appropriate taste and consistency. I also beat in 2 to 5 tablespoons for flavoring. I usually use vanilla extract for a standard icing, but I’ve used other extracts such as almond or lemon, lime juice, and, in this case, Bailey’s Irish Cream. You can add to taste, but the more liquid you use, the more sugar you’ll have to add to thicken the icing. That’s why, for colored frosting, I recommend using gel food colorings or powdered ones, instead of the liquid ones. I’ve found gel ones in the supermarket and the powdered ones are available at Jo-Ann’s craft stores (and probably anywhere that sells Wilton supplies).

You can also add solids to your icing such as cocoa powder for chocolate icing, citrus zest, or grated ginger for flavoring.

I don’t like my icing too sweet, so I don’t use too much sugar. But that does leave the icing fairly thin; if you want to pipe it you will have to use more sugar. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (okay, that’s a lie, but for some reason super sweet icing doesn’t sit well with me), so I usually don’t make frosting that’s thick enough to pipe. I also am pretty terrible at cake decorating, although at some point I want to learn. Maybe then I’ll have some use for that really thick, sweet icing.

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A close up of the little prince shawlOkay, a full three months without an update.  Ugh.  Sorry about that.  So much has happened in that time.  I was in a little bit of a funk for some of the time, but luckily, I spent a lot of time doing things I love too.  So overall, it was a good time. I wish I could say that I did some work on my business, but I did nothing about that. Unfortunately. But I still did a lot.  There’s a lot to update on–knitting, theatre, and fitness–so I’ll divide this up into sections to update you on everything.

Haiku SocksKnitting:
1. I joined a knitting guild. There isn’t much to say about it, except that I’m glad to be a part of a group that gives me an opportunity to learn new techniques (we have monthly programs with guest teachers). I’m really excited.

2. I did finish the Haiku Socks from Knitted Socks East and West. If you have a Ravelry account, you can see my project page here. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, but I think if I made them again, I would make the leg section longer. I certainly had enough yarn (I have a fair amount left over). I have a few more skeins of the Jojoland Melody, but I’ve started using better sock yarn (more on that later), so I’ll use that up, but probably won’t be buying anymore of it.

3. I cast on and finished The Little Prince Shawl from The Unique Sheep (Ravelry page here). I knit it in their Luxe Yarn (which is a gorgeous Tussah silk/merino blend), in a gradience colorway called African Violets (which is green and transitions to purple). The picture up on the left is a detail of the lace with the clear 8/0 seed beads I put on. I loved knitting it, although the beading was a bit fiddly sometimes. But I’m incredibly happy with it.

Edith Sock WIP4. I cast on Edith Socks from the book Custom Knits Accessories. They are basic top down socks, with a lace panel in the middle and a picot cuff. I have cast off one sock and cast on the other one. I’m knitting these out of Malabrigo sock, and I LOVE it. It is more expensive than the sock yarns I usually buy, but it is totally worth it. The fabric it knits into is amazing. I started listening to this great podcast, The Anatomy of Knitting. Erin, the host, talks a lot about the yarns she uses and she uses really good yarns. It just made me change the way I think about yarn, because it made me realize that if the yarn knits up into something I really want to wear, it’s probably worth the money.

5. I cast on the Ready for the Floor Blanket (which you can only see on Ravelry). The knitting part is done, but I still have to block and assemble it. I’ll put up pictures when I’m done. The most exciting part of this is who it’s for. My sister-in-law is pregnant and due on Thanksgiving. This is my first little niece or nephew and I’m incredibly excited to have a wee one to knit for!

Theatre:
1. I was cast as Maria in a production of Twelfth Night that ran a few weekends in May. It was a great experience, with a great cast. I don’t get to do much Shakespeare, so that was especially awesome. I also got to work with a new director, whose work I’ve seen a lot and who I was really lucky to get to work with him. And the icing on the cake is that I got paid for doing this show. I don’t do it for the money, but it feels good anyway.

2. I am currently doing an all-women production of Julius Caesar. I’m playing Marullus and the Third Citizen. I haven’t had too many rehearsals yet, but I’m excited to be doing it. This is the first Shakespeare drama I get to do, which is extra exciting.

3. Immediately after that closes I’m doing a silly show about the Beat Movement and I get to play a folk singer. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

4. I’m taking a second acting class, with the same teacher from Acting I. It’s going really well; I’ve done quite a bit of good scene work and I’m just trying to grow as an actor.

Fitness:

1. I re-started the Couch to 5K program, but a different version than I did last time. This one is working out much better for me. Yesterday I was able to run for 20 minutes non-stop. That doesn’t sound like much, but I haven’t run like that in a long time, so it felt totally awesome to get to that point.

2. I’ve started using my bike to run a lot of errands and stuff, which is making my life a lot easier. I love biking so much, I can’t even tell you.

So that’s what’s been up with me lately. I’m incredibly busy, but that makes me happy, because (aside from work) I get to spend my time doing all the things that I love. And I promise I’ll be better at updating in the future, no matter how busy I get.