kitchen cross stich!

I have a confession.

I am a very, very lazy person. I start a project—I almost finish it—and then, of course, I don’t. That was the tragic case with my latest cross stitch project, a very cute little pattern of tea cups and their accruements. 🙂 I finished the cross stitch, but properly framing it like a non-lazy person was another matter entirely. IMG_5653

Who can guess what’s wrong with this picture? (Yes, I taped up my cross stitch for months with painter’s tape. Months.)

Anyway I finally decided enough was enough, so I dug out a cheap craft frame, painted it, and now my cross stitch looks at least mildly more presentable. 😉 I’m sure I’ll still replace the frame eventually, but at least it’s a step up from tape.

Look at that painter’s tape blue! 🙂

So what are your laziest crafting moments? Anyone else use ‘temporary’ solutions that turn into semi-permanent monuments to laziness?


tea sandwiches

When I’m at my parents for the summer, one of my favorite social activities is throwing fancy tea parties with my sister for our friends. I am not the best baker, but out of the two of us, I usually end up in charge of the menu and cooking. This role has greatly endeared tea sandwiches to me—after a day spent cooking fancy desserts, throwing together two or three sandwich types is a very nice respite.

The first image is of a party I made where one of the guests was gluten-free, hence the large variety of meringue-based treats. That one was especially tricky to put together!

However, while I don’t often make desserts for myself—shortbread or berries with cream is usually the extent—I find tea sandwiches a nice way to make something quick and easy that still feels like a treat. This week I made them extra special by buying some pumpernickel bread (I usually bake all my own bread).

I think tea sandwiches feel special because you can put the focus on one or two nicer ingredients and really enjoy them. I frequently cut or substitute ingredients to save money or use up leftovers, so buying something “extra” is an easy way to treat myself. For these sandwiches, for instance, I actually bought green onions, a lemon, and some nice local radishes. For the radish sandwich, I diced green onions and added them with some lemon juice to butter. For the other, I made curried egg salad. You can’t see it in the picture, but I also used the lemon to make a vinaigrette for the radish greens—instant salad!

They may be simple, but they were delicious! 🙂 Anyone have any other simple meals they enjoy making as special treats?

wall quilt & garland

One of the less fun things about being a grad student is the lack of money. This is especially a problem, if like me, you tend to prefer handmade furniture and oil paintings (I know, I know). My dad is a very good woodworker, and has so far indulged me in the desire for very nice furniture, but I’ve had to be a bit more economical with art and decorations. I decided to combine my desire for less-blank walls with my desire to improve my quilting skills, so I’ve been making wall quilts! They’re not exactly my favorite pastoral oils, but they are very cute. 🙂


This is my first finished one—I made it to hang in my kitchen. I thought that the redwork embroidery looked a bit vintage, and the teacup of course makes it very suitable. I didn’t do a very complicated block, since this was for practice, but I did make sure the cat fabric formed a nice border. I think my hand-quilting has improved somewhat—the stitches are getting a bit more even!


Once it was done, I thought the wall still looked too blank, so I added a little crochet garland. The stars are very simple, only two rounds, so it went quite fast. I used scraps leftover from the cotton I use for my dishcloths, which luckily I’ve made in a nice variety of blue shades.


Overall, I’m very happy with this simple decorating! I still have a few more things I’d like to make for my kitchen, and then onto the next room. 😉

free pattern: tweed tea cosy

So I love tea a lot. As in, my dad actually built me a little tea cabinet to help store my ever-increasing collection. It is possibly the cutest piece of furniture I own. (Then he had to make my sister one too, because I’m nothing if not a bad influence).


The cutest, right? Anyway, I drink tea a lot, but I’m a bit absentminded. Nothing is worse than getting distracted by a good book, or a friend calling, and then realizing my tea has gone cold. 😦

So I knit myself a tea cosy, and decided to share the pattern! It’s very simple, with a basic slip stitch colorwork design. I made it sized for a small 2-cup pot, but upping the yarn size to worsted or bulky would probably let you fit a larger one. This pattern is also certainly easy enough to be suitable for beginners, or for more experienced knitters looking for a quick gift idea.

You can find it available to download on ravelry here. Enjoy!