Strawberry Cupcake Hats Forever!

It is minus 14 celsius with windchill right now, and snow is in the forecast for this afternoon! Winter is on definitely on its way~ but I’m not sour about it. In fact… I’m excited because I can top my outfits office with cute warm accessories!! To celebrate (I might be the only one!), I knitted myself a cute new toque. Cupcake themed, because what else could make you smile in the middle of a blizzard!?

This was a super quick knit that I worked on during my downtime at work yesterday. I opted for Super Bulky yarn which makes it really thick and toasty for Canadian winters. The toque is in three parts, which I did freestyle, or without a pattern: the liner, the frosting, and the strawberry, and then sewn up at the end.

The yellow cupcake liner is ribbed in Lion Brands’ Hometown Glory (Super Bulky) in Pittsburgh Yellow. I ended up knitting it short side down – so it ended up looking like a long skinny scarf just so I could get the exact length for my head.

The pink is Lion Brands’ Neon Pink. I think the colours are so delicious together! It’s then topped off with a bright red strawberry.

It may be chilly outside, but that shouldn’t stop you from dressing super sweet!

My Ravelry is here if you’re looking for any knitting buddies. 🙂

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October Blogging Challenge! Day 1: Thankful Thursday!

Holy moly October already?! September was a VERY busy month but fortunately also meant it went by crazy fast – phew! It’s time to unwind with the very first day of the October Blogging Challenge, and the first topic is Thankful Thursday! I’m glad we get to start the month on a good happy note because I sure need it!

I am thankful for a lot of things as I’m realizing more and more this wild year, but here are FIVE for today:

Family

Always my favourite thing! My lovely parents surprised me this weekend by coming over to paint my bedroom and brought over sushi (my absolute favourite food!) which I haven’t had forever. They are amazing and I don’t know what I’d do without them.

Crispy Autumn Mornings

Something cool autumn days really me with warmth and happiness! I’m looking forward to planning and celebrating holidays (whatever that means this year!)

Studio Ghibli Movies

I’ve been binge watching Ghibli films lately and they’re really helping me escape from the real world for a little bit. They’re just absolute positivity and prettiness in movie form!

Creativity

I LOVE making stuff and having a million projects on the go at once! My house is an EXPLOSION of colour and yarn and beads at the moment and it’s so much fun.

I bought a couple of new knitting patterns off of Etsy that I’m so excited to get to work on!

Jigglypuff is by LittleWhitsKnits and the Sailor Moon Hat is by PamigurumiMakes!

Friends

I LOVE my friends (in real life and internet friends)! Even if we don’t talk frequently or just exchange the occasional likes, I really adore you and don’t think I’d be in as good of a place as I am without you. <3

What are you thankful for?!? 🙂

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Sunday Snaps for the end of summer!

Tomorrow is officially the last day of summer! I’m very excited for all the changes autumn will bring! It certainly looks like autumn here already. Just in the past day the trees have all started going from green to orange and leaves are falling! Yay for crunchy leaf piles!! I feel like autumn is really ENERGIZING me and I managed to accomplish a lot this week.

I’ve been trying to get outside as much as I can and saying hi to the friendly neighbourhood animal pals. These guys were having a blast with the leaves:

Sugar is definitely entertained watching the leaves fall from the window as well:

I’ve also been in a cleaning mood, and reorganized the closet today. Time to pull out the toasty warm cardigans again!

Did a ton of creating as well ~ I’m so glad to be back at it! Spent a lot of time knitting and getting caught up on the 2020 Mood Blanket:

Sugar and binged a bunch of Studio Ghibli Films! Didn’t realize that they are on Netflix now so it was a huge treat.

Which inspired me to make a Totoro feltie! Here he is in progress (while watching Arrietty sew in The Secret World of Arrietty):

Bought a Hello Kitty Perler Bead kit so also been tinkering with that a bit too ( you can get your own here!):

My parents were in town this week as well, so I had the privilege of babysitting my sweet pup Heidi, who lives with my parents at their cottage. I’ve missed the heck out of her this year so it was nice catching up!

The rainbow blanket has been great for some of the chilly nights we’ve been having lately ~ and I love it! Bye summer, see ya next year!

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Bunnies, Bows, and Baking! ~ How to Have a Super Cute Easter in Quarantine!

Hoppy easter, a perfect passover, or splendid springtime!! Hoping everyone and their families are doing well in this difficult time. Our celebrations are quiet this year, and many of us are alone ~ but that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate and make the best of this situation.

Why not have a springtime party to lift your spirits?! Here’s some ideas!

DIY Easter Tree

Hello Kitty… err Hello Bunny?!, Poteusa’s (Amuse), and a Bunny Bunny Bunny hang around my springtastic tree!

Having a springtime celebration by yourself this year doesn’t mean you need to skimp on making your place look super cute for yourself~ you’ll be surprised how just a little thing like this will lift you up! I was planning on buying some decorations this year, but never had a chance to go out shopping for non-essentials because of the quarantine. So I had to make due with what I have and this seems even better!

What I did have was my super cute pink Christmas tree, some fake flowers and bows, and a ton of bunnies! So that festive little tree is now fresh and sprouting a BUN-ch of cuteness! You could easily make your own cute easter tree with springy things you have around the house:

  • mini Christmas trees or a vase of twigs
  • cute toys
  • hanging candies
  • plastic or hollow decorated easter eggs
  • fake flowers
  • bows, ribbons, or tulle
  • decorated ornaments

Colourful Easter Bun-Nana Bread

Everyone seems to be baking lately~ it’s a great way to pass the time, create something, or even finally learn how if you’ve never done it. This banana bread is a slightly modified version of my favourite banana bread recipe from Sprinkles for Breakfast. It’s stuffed full of healthy bananay goodness to make a healthy breakfast, but still sweet enough to feel like you’re indulging on easter snacks!

I followed the Sprinkles for Breakfast recipe, but instead of scooping the entire batter into the bread tins, I first separated the batter into four separate bowls and dyed them with Food Gel (I use Wilton Food Gel, which has brilliant colours!) Then using spoons, I scooped the batter out into globs on the pans.

It kind of looks like those bright gummy easter candies! And while the colours *technically* don’t taste different, it seems to be a bit more magical and happy for easter time!

Easter Meringue Cookies

You might not want a whole batch of cookies or a cake by yourself, so something small and relatively healthy like meringues is a fun choice. Meringues may seem intimidating, but they are the easiest little puffs to whip up! What’s more springy than light airy crunchy cookies of happiness (and super bonus – they’re fat free)?!

All you need are:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Flavouring – I used lemon extract because it seems so fresh! But vanilla, mint or strawberry would also be yummy!
  • Food gel

Directions:

~ Preheat oven to 225F and prepare a baking pan with a silicon baking sheet. Add egg whites, Cream of Tartar, and flavour extract to your clean mixer bowl and whip on HIGH for about two minutes, until the egg whites have whipped up bright white and fluffy with peaks

~ Slowly add a bit of the sugar until fully incorporated and you get fairly stiff peaks. You need to be careful to be slow as to not deflate the meringue.

~ Separate the meringue into separate bowls with a spatula. Very gently FOLD in the food gel by hand. Do not stir.

~ Fill a piping bag and attach a large tip and pipe them out onto your baking sheet. I only did a tiny little dollop so they’re very small cookies, but you can go as big as you want.

~ Put in oven for 40 minutes, until dry and the insides are crunchy and airy! Enjoy!

You can store them in the freezer as long as they’re in an airtight container. If they get a bit soft, you can put them back into the oven for 10 minutes (at 225 degrees) to crisp them up again!

Other cute ideas!

  • Dress up! Throw on your best pastels, frills, and bows.
  • Spring clean! What’s more refreshing than a new look for your place? Start slow and get rid of some stuff~ I went through some overstuffed closets yesterday and having them cleaned up feels refreshing! Note: most donation places aren’t taking donations right now, but store the goods you’re going to giveaway for now instead of tossing them. 🙂
  • Decorate easter eggs!
  • Have a springtime dance party!
  • Not feeling super energetic? THAT’S OKAY TOO! This is a tough time, and just relaxing and watching a favourite tv show and downing a bag of chocolately eggs is EGG-cellent!
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Let’s Talk About Conversation Heart Cookies!

Happy valentine vibes are starting to soar and hearts are starting to float into stores and online! It’s such a nice change from the dreary greyness that is January!

I was asked to make some super sweet heart cookies for a local organization who works with special needs adults to celebrate their support workers. And what’s more lovely than conversation hearts to tell someone you appreciate them?!

Conversation hearts are addictive little candy hearts with a cute little message to give to someone you appreciate (or yourself!) They look like they are just meant to be cookies!

To make these cookies, I used a standard sugar cookie recipe and royal icing recipe that I’ve used multiple times which always come out deliciously decadent! Decorating them is far easier than you’d think!

What You Need

Cookies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 sticks (200 grams) of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt

Icing

  • 6 egg whites
  • 4 cups (1 pound) icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • food colouring (I use gel based)

Directions

Baking

  • Cream the sugar and butter together until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla until combined.
  • Add in the flour and salt until fully incorporated, and the cookie dough will come together in a big dough ball. The dough will seem very, very crumby at first, but it will come together when you use your hands.
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and flatten into your hands into a flat disk. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and put in fridge for 20 minutes (this makes it much easier to work with).
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Roll out your dough on a floured surface. Using a floured cookie cutter, cut out your shapes (1/4 inch thick) and carefully transfer them to the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown and then let them completely cool.

Royal Icing

  • To make the icing, add in the icing sugar, and then add in the egg whites and lemon juice and then blend with a hand or stand mixer on high until light and fluffy (5-10 minutes). Cover with a wet cloth or in an air tight container until ready to use (or it will harden!)
  • When ready to decorate, thin out your icing into flood consistency and separate your icing into separate bowls and colour as appropriate for your design. I used six colours based on conversation heart cookies: pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
  • Leave a little bit of excess icing in piping consistency in red (or whatever your want!) to do the writing and cover

Decorating

I started off with piping each individual cookie, but as you can imagine filling piping bags, piping a border, and flooding 70+ cookies is time consuming! So I opted to DIP my cookies in the royal icing which was so much faster and I think looks pretty great!

  • Fill a low bowl with your icing at flood consistency and then pick up the cookies and DIP! I used a popsicle stick to remove the excess icing. It took a few goes to figure out how to remove the excess smoothly
  • Put the dipped cookies on a tray and let COMPLETELY dry (a couple of hours at least)
  • Once the cookies are dried, fill a piping bag and with a small round tip and pipe the lettering. Some ideas are: XOXO, You Rock, U.R.A. Q.T, Love, Sweet, Hug Me, Text Me, Cutie Pie, Be Mine… the sweet sayings are endless!

All of the colours look so pretty together, and would make a lovely personalized gift for the loves in your life!!

XOXO
Erika

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