Hot Pink Lindsays, the pinkest socks ever

During the Summer of Socks (parts 1, 2, & 3!) last year, I ordered a variety pack of Knit Picks Hawthorne in order to get a certain specific color that I wanted that wasn’t available individually for some weird reason, and I ended up with a bunch of random colors of sock yarn that I might not have necessarily bought otherwise.

20170725_103154

It’s hard to go wrong with a variety pack of Hawthorne, though, since all of the colors are just super-saturated and gorgeous, and these jewel tones were right up my alley.

But that pink! It’s so pink that I kept saying it “pank” over and over again. This color is called “Rose City,” and it is the pinkest yarn I have ever seen, and I have knit an awful lot of Pussyhats. It’s a glorious thing, but not something that I feel like I’d ever be able to wear, even on my feet. I’m just not that committed to pink.

However, after some of my coworkers at the hospital saw my socks from the Summer of Socks (yes, I will refer to it with its full name every time), I got requests for hand-knitted socks from all kinds of people. When my friend Sabrina said that she wanted some, I knew that this pink would be perfect for her.

20180124_114458

Sabrina is a kick-ass punk-rock pixie-looking awesome nurse that I had the pleasure of working with while our floor was being renovated almost 2 years ago. She’s all black hair and cool tattoos and sassiness, and this pink just called out to me when she expressed an interest in some socks.

I sat down with her and showed her a bunch of sock patterns, and she picked out Lindsay by Cookie A., a masterpiece of garter-stitch short-rowing and gathered stitches.

20180124_114506

Now, I am beyond pleased with the way these came out. They are exactly like I pictured in my mind, and I think that the pink just works amazingly well here.

However…

20180101_105412

…those k4togs are a bitch. If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you know that I have a long-standing hatred of all things nupp, bobble, and popcorn stitch. Knitting 4 stitches together with any sort of legit tension on the yarn is just a goddamn nightmare.

20180124_114650

But, dang it if they don’t look real pretty when they’re done.  I guess it’s worth it when it looks so good.

In order to complete these, I had to thread the needle through all 4 stitches, and then work the needle back and forth over and over again to open up the space inside the stitches before wrapping the yarn. Otherwise, if I tried to pull the working yarn though, everything slipped off the needle in a big mess, and a great deal of swearing would occur.

20180103_231221

As for the other design features, I was so enamored of the short row garter-stitch heels that I took a picture and bragged all over Facebook about them to people who had no idea what I was so jazzed about. Which is pretty much business as usual, to be honest.

20180124_114541

I might be a complete short row heel convert now.

20180124_114628

And the toes! So stretchy and comfy and stylish. The seam ends up landing sort of in the crease where your toes meet your foot, but you really can’t feel anything there. When you’re knitting them, they look a little bulbous and strange, but when they’re done, they stretch and fit perfectly.

20180124_114927

Lastly, these socks are paired symmetrically, which I feel is something that I don’t see nearly enough of in knitwear.

20180124_114725

Each sock has a column of knit stitches that run up the outside edge, and I just find this so aesthetically pleasing. Cookie A. is all about these wonderful details, and that’s probably why I’ve made so many of her socks. (Kai-Mei, Cauchy, Sam, Mingus, Stricken, Pomatomus, and Hedera, to be exact.)

20180124_114910

So pretty and so pank. Sabrina sent me a picture of her wearing them the day after she got them, so I’m happy that crazy hot pink yarn found a good home. There was a nupp-like struggle to overcome, but it was all clearly meant to be. It’s nice when things work out that way.

Advertisements

Little Lebowskis – Dark Chocolate White Russian Cupcakes

I appear to have acquired for myself a reputation for making boozy desserts. I have absolutely no idea how that could have possibly happened.

2015-06-22 417

My friend Samantha recently moved away from New Orleans to Chicago, and for her going-away party, I asked her if she’d like for me to bake anything. She said that she didn’t care what the baked good was, as long as it was filled with alcohol, preferably White Russian-flavored.

2015-06-22 718

I was prepared with a ridiculous amount of Kahlua, but, as usual, some research was in order. I was going to be bringing this dessert to a bar (appropriately enough, considering the contents), so it couldn’t be some sort of giant cake or frozen thing. Cupcakes seemed portable and appropriate. Clicking around brought me to the Collegiate Baker‘s Chocolate Kahlua Cake, a thing of beauty that absolutely begged to be modified into cupcakes.

2015-06-22 615

All of the elements were there: chocolate, Kahlua, and even more Kahlua.

2015-06-22 848

As for the cupcakes part, the only modification that I made was to divide the batter into liners in a cupcake pan (obviously), and baked them for a slightly longer period of time (about 33 minutes, as opposed to the 25 in the original recipe). I’m not sure if the longer time comes from a slightly taller cake or from the fact that my oven is a lying liar all the time, but things worked out nicely.

Just a note, you end up filling the cupcake liners slightly higher than you think you need to because these don’t rise very much at all. Just go a little bit higher than the standard 2/3rds, and you’ll be just fine. You’ll get 18 cupcakes, plus a tiny 1/2-sized 19th cupcake just for you to enjoy.

2015-06-22 606

This tiny half-cake ended up being super important to the process here. Dan and I split it when the cupcakes had cooled sufficiently, and we discovered that, although the chocolate and coffee liqueur flavor was pleasing (that’s too weak of a word…it was freaking dense and delicious), it was not what you’d call boozy really. It didn’t have that little bump of tang and flavor that I’ve come to associate with those types of desserts.

So, after the cakes were totally cooled, I went ahead and remedied that by poking a bunch of holes in the top of each cupcake…

2015-06-22 933

…and brushing them with straight Kahlua to soak in. Each one got a good, full brushful, plus some extra drops drizzled into those gorgeous cracks on top. I think I used slightly less than 1/2 cup for all 18 cakes.

Then, I let that soak in while I made the frosting.

2015-06-22 308

Southern Living’s White Russian Frosting, because you don’t mess with perfection.

2015-06-22 512

It’s ridiculous how good this stuff is. And a warning, you’ll end up with way too much for just cupcakes, unless you are some kind of champion cupcake decorator who knows how to pile that stuff up way high. I think that I probably only used about half of the recipe, and the other half is currently sitting in my refrigerator, calling to me softly every time I walk by.

2015-06-22 720

Now, I am intimidated by frosting cupcakes. But if you are a close reader, you are probably not surprised by this information. This time, however, I had the frosting mojo. I was on a roll, making perfect little spirals with perfect tiny curls on top.

Until.

2015-06-22 731

2015-06-22 855

2015-06-22 748

My frosting bag betrayed me. Split right up the side. And then at the tip while I attempted to salvage the existing frosting and rescue the tip. While I scrambled to rig up a Ziplock bag to save the entire operation and not lose the frosting mojo, Dan took some artistic shots.

2015-06-22 841

Dang. I’m still proud somehow.

2015-06-22 322

Back on track.

2015-06-22 554

2015-06-22 750

I was even smiling, and you know that rarely happens in my kitchen.

2015-06-22 226

Then, for the finishing touch, everything got sprinkled with some bittersweet chocolate shavings. You could make some chocolate curls for yourself, or you could go with my cheating, hacky version and buy some super fancy hot chocolate from Williams-Sonoma and use that instead. It’s delicious sprinkled on top of ice cream, too.

2015-06-22 218

Hooray! I sent out the call on social media for friends to help me with the name for these, as I couldn’t think of anything that was remotely clever or didn’t sound exactly like every other cake on the Internet. There was so many funny and interesting suggestions, but what really stuck out was how many people mentioned The Big Lebowski and the Dude.

I kicked myself for not thinking of that first, and then used elements of a bunch of suggestions to come up with Little Lebowskis, after the urban achievers in the film. And proud we are of all of them. (Do it in your best Maude voice.)

2015-06-22 200

2015-06-22 940

Sam became the keeper of the cupcakes once they appeared at the party, and her smile makes me think that I did a pretty good job.

2015-06-22 920

I know that the quality of these pictures is bad, but bars are dark and no one else in the world cares if you like to take pictures of your food.

Anyway, the first bite of these is super dark chocolate and sweet buttercream. Then, the Kahlua kicks in and warms everything up, and makes everyone make the same simultaneously surprised and satisfied face. I’m going to have to make them again to use up all that extra frosting.

Year-End Thankfulness and Awesomeness Round-Up (or…Thankful for Pie: Damn Fine Cherry Pie Super-Late Edition)

You guys. Like usual, I decided to use all my free time after finishing the semester forgetting that I had a blog to post things on. Whoops.

In order to make up for it, get ready for waaaay too much content.

This year has been for me, as well as for many others in my life, full of ups and downs, and to properly celebrate it (as well as make up for the fact that I completely forgot to do a Thanksgiving post this year, even though I had an exorbitant amount of pie pictures ready to go), I decided to go through all of my pictures from this year and pick out my favorite moments for which I am enormously thankful. Heavily featured? Awesome people and silly situations, plus knitting.

Don’t worry, there’s also pictures of pie. And ice cream. And a whole lot of me, which I normally shy away from, but why else have a blog if you aren’t going to at least take one entry to celebrate how awesome you are, even if you feel as though you make super weird faces in most pictures?

Here we go.

2014-03-01 529

I made my friend Bailee this giant labor of love early in the year, the sight of which prompted the following amazing text message:

IMG_0764 censored

And can we talk a little bit more about Bailee?

IMG_2049

She moved back home to Mississippi at the beginning of summer, but she is still totally game to drive all the way back in order to sit with me in a movie theater for nine hours to watch all of The Hobbit trilogy.

526

I miss her all the time. That girl’s a keeper.

Speaking of Mardi Gras…(I know that’s not right, but how else does one transition solely on photo content?)

607

My friend Jonathan orchestrated a lovely surprise for his wife this year when she was riding in a Mardi Gras parade. We dutifully waited for her float in the place where we said we would, and then we ran as fast as we possibly could down the street in order to meet her float and scream at her and receive beads four more times.

618

Needless to say, I think that Rebecca was delighted.

You know who else is delightful?

302

IMG_1679

These guys.

IMG_1071

Best (and probably most photogenic, for sure) cats ever.

127

In March, I walked for MS with my spectacular nursing school friend Gaby, who is an inspiration to me in so many different ways. She is always there for me to roll my eyes with and knows that the best way to deal with the seriousness of the health care industry is to have an awesome time and not care at all about what anyone else thinks. She believes in the wisdom and comfort of good coffee, good wine, and pictures of Grumpy Cat, and I am so happy that she is my friend.

2014-04-16 080

In April, I made banana bread and talked a lot about ASMR right here on the blog, and the outpouring of love and appreciation that I got from friends and blog-buddies alike really knocked me out. I can’t even express how thankful I am for ASMR and all of the wonderful content-creators out there, like Heather Feather and Springbok ASMR and countless others. You guys are so freaking great.

070

In May, I threw caution to the wind and wore a wig all day to dress up as Ramona Flowers. I am still proud of myself for not having a panic attack from so much wig and goggle anxiety.

2014-06-22 123

In June, I made this amazing frozen yogurt from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, and then posted about it on Tumblr. Then, Jeni’s Ice Creams itself actually reblogged it and called it the “official flavor of summer,” and my mind got blown while I watched it get reblogged over a hundred times. I know that those are pretty piddly numbers for most seasoned Tumblr folk, but my brain exploded everywhere for a few hours when that happened. It was awesome.

164

Later on that same day when I made that frozen yogurt, I went to my birthday party where lots of really pretty ladies thought it would be fun to grab my boobs. It was.

2014-07-02 228

And then, at June’s end, Dan and I went to visit my brother and his now-wife in Austin to see Eddie Izzard and give him this handknit squirrel. I’m pretty sure we all know how that went, but I still wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything else. I just hope that Jeff found a good home eventually.

2014-07-21 010

In July, I made a hat. I just think it’s really pretty.

spencer 1

Then in August, another hat, plus a published pattern and the highest day ever for views here at jingersnaps. Brain exploded again, you guys. You have no idea how happy that stuff makes me. Someone actually made one of their own in that very first week (want to see? Ravelry link!), and it came out so cute. I was elated. Knitters are seriously the best.

IMG_1440

Oh, and in August, I got free ice cream on my snoball once for absolutely no reason. It was pretty great, too.

145

In September, I discovered that I could knit rainbows.

10628591_10152448235225980_4982385604480362120_n

136

And my brother got married! I managed to wear makeup and a lovely dress and didn’t spill anything on myself, somehow.

IMG_1651

Plus, Dan and I took lots of picnics and bike rides in the park and along the lake. Can’t you just see the joy radiating from that beautiful man’s face? He loves a good tire swing.

2014-10-03 051

In October, I invented an extremely boozy cake that made a bunch of people really happy. And tipsy.

2014-10-17 082

I also met one of my idols, Ms. Joy Wilson from Joy the Baker, and gave her a homemade cat toy. Like you do.

005

I actually attended a school function for once, but only because it required wearing a fancy dress and drinking wine in an aquarium. When else would we ever get that opportunity?

075

Also in October, my wonderful friend Amanda from Colorado visited New Orleans with her husband, and we had the most amazing time. We managed to somehow visit a record store that was showcasing Mardi Gras Indian costumes when this happened:

001

The artist himself actually put that on my head. My face pretty accurately reflects my feelings, both of excitement and of confusion as to how these uber-talented artists can wear these things and dance around the way that they do. Seriously, the headdress alone was nearly 40 pounds.

IMG_1856

We went on a trip through the Honey Island Swamp with them, and then later that same weekend…

IMG_1886

See anything familiar about that headdress? We saw that exact same guy, this time wearing his beautiful handmade costume and leading a second-line down Canal Street. Their time here was pretty astounding. It was like the New Orleans that the commercials make you think always exists, but rarely does outside of Mardi Gras. We saw live music, alligators, and graveyards, plus topped it all off with Sazeracs.

IMG_1749

Oh, and in October, I read a bedtime story to Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper. It was a busy month.

IMG_1931

In November, I met William Joyce! And what a delightful man he was. He really gives a good autograph.

037

IMG_2015

I feel like December was all about pie. Apple pie for Dan’s birthday. Cherry pie for a super-fun Twin Peaks HD viewing party. (Hence the ‘damn fine pie’ reference in the title.) French silk pie for Christmas, with no pictures unfortunately. Pie is always one of the things that I am thankful for, and this year made me realize just how much people like when you’re around if you can make a good pie.

IMG_2086

In December, actually just a few days ago, I got the opportunity to see Degas’ Little Dancer in person. Degas has been one of my favorite artists for as long as I can remember, and it was a privilege to see such a wonderful and influential part of art history.

590

Now that I look at it all together in these fantastic little moments, 2014 was a wonderful year to look back on. Not only do I have some really amazing friends, but you guys reading this are a huge part of my joy, just in case you didn’t get it by now.

I am thankful for everyone reading and everyone crafting and everyone working hard to make things that people will love, regardless of what they are. You should all be so proud of yourselves for creating beautiful things and moments in other people’s lives. Thank you for a lovely year.

Cold.

Dan and I made an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video. Click right here if you want to hear my high-pitched voice and see Dan torture me by pouring that water way too slowly. You know you do.

And go donate to alsa.org to help fund ALS research. It’s totally worth it.

Triple Helix – a super mathy hat

spencer 6

People ask me to knit things for them relatively often, and I usually politely decline by explaining how busy I am. School starts up again tomorrow. (My final year of nursing school! I am so excited that this experience is drawing to a close that I am very nearly almost smiling as I type this. It’s a real moment.) Once school starts, all I tend to do is study, work, sleep, and complain about studying, working, and sleeping. It doesn’t leave much room for recreational activities, hence the overload on knitting projects and ice-cream-based dessert blogging this summer.

2014-07-29 006

However, there was a particular project that I knew that I had to finish before the summer was over. My friend and co-worker Spencer had asked me to make him a hat sometime last winter, and after a great deal of pretending like I didn’t want to do it, I got started with gusto.

Spencer is a math person. He makes jokes about the Monty Hall problem and never stops to see if you understand, just assumes that you will, because otherwise why would he be talking to you? That kind of person needs a mathy hat.

spencer 2

(He’s also a photography person, coincidentally, and the exceptionally lovely first, third, and fifth pictures in this post are all his. Beautiful stuff.)

How do you make a mathy hat, you ask? You take a deep breath and fall down into the rabbit hole of helical knitting. You remember that you saw that the amazing Grumperina knitted some helical striped socks a few years ago, and you dig through your stash to find something that works.

2014-07-29 044

I decided to go all out with the helical goodness here. Three rows of ribbing, three colors of continuously spiraling helical striping, six-part decreasing in order to create diminishing hexagons in the spiral as it works its way up? This thing is practically an episode of Schoolhouse Rock. Three is a magic number, indeed.

spencer 1

Want the pattern? Keep reading below, or go ahead and click on this handy link for an easy-to-read printable PDF.

2014-07-29 046

Triple Helix
a super mathy hat

This original hat was made to fit heads up to 24″, and changes in size can be made easily by decreasing/increasing the number of stitches cast on in multiples of six.

Yarn:
Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted (85% wool, 15% mohair blend, 190 yds. per skein), 1 skein each of M-75 Blue Heirloom (Color A), M-03 Grey Heather (Color B), and M-06 Deep Charcoal (Color C)
(Really, any good quality worsted-weight wool or wool blend will do.)

Supplies:
US size 8 (5.0mm) 16-inch circular needle
US size 8 double-pointed needles
stitch markers (in at least 3 different colors or styles)
tapestry or yarn needle
scissors

Gauge:
5 sts per inch on US 8 (5.0 mm) needles

Pattern:
CO 108 sts with Color A on circular needle. Join into round, being careful not to twist.

Knit in 1×1 ribbing (k1, p1) for 2 rounds.

Using stitch markers, divide stitches evenly into 3 sets of 36 sts. I found it helpful to use stitch markers that were all the same color here, in order to differentiate from the marker you’re using to mark the beginning of the round and the stitch markers that will be used later to indicate the decrease sections. Using 3 distinct colors or styles will help to prevent a lot of confusion down the line.

2014-07-29 284

For the setup round, knit the first 36 sts with Color A. When you reach the first stitch marker, drop Color A, join Color B and knit with it until the next marker. At this marker, drop Color B, join Color C and knit until you finish the round.

2014-07-29 281

For the next round, continue knitting with Color C until you reach the first stitch marker. Then, drop Color C, pick up Color A (where it was conveniently left for you), and begin knitting to the next marker. Resist the temptation to twist the colors at the marker or to pull aggressively at that first stitch. Just drop the color you’re working with, pick up the one waiting for you, give it a tiny tug to even out the tension, and get going. You’ll continue to do this same maneuver over and over again, spiraling the colors upward in rounds until the piece measures 6″ in length (or whatever your preference might be). Keep in mind that the last color for each round always ends up being the first color that you use for the next round, so there’s no color-switching as you go past the beginning of the round.

2014-07-29 288

Decrease section:
Now, divide your sts further so that you have 6 sets of 18 sts each. It’s easiest to do this by just dividing each section in half with a different color of stitch marker, especially if you use locking stitch markers so that nothing has to come off the needles.

Decrease round: *ssk, k to 2 sts before next marker, k2tog, slip marker* until end of round, while continuing to switch colors at the appropriate stitch markers. (12 sts decreased, 96 sts remain.)

Plain round: k all sts, continuing to switch colors at the appropriate stitch markers.

Repeat these two rows 7 more times, until 12 sts remain, switching the double-pointed needles when appropriate. Use the gaps between the needles to stand in place of your color-switching stitch markers.

2014-07-29 293

Final decrease round: *ssk, k2tog* until end of round, while continuing to switch colors at the appropriate stitch markers. (6 sts decreased, 6 sts remain.)

Break all yarns, leaving long enough tails to weave in for Colors B and C, and a longer tail for Color A. Tuck the strands for Colors B and C into the hole at the top of the hat so that they are on the inside. Thread Color A onto a yarn needle and pull the yarn through the remaining 6 sts on the needles, pull snugly, and secure to the inside of the hat.

2014-07-29 011

Weave in all ends, and then spend a few minutes staring lovingly at that awesome spiral. Finish the hat by thoroughly washing and wet-blocking it, which will ensure that the tiny ribbed section stays flat and that the color-switching areas settle down. When the actual knitting is taking place, these areas might feel stiffer or tighter than the surrounding fabric, but a good blocking makes it all even out nicely.

2014-07-29 003

Now, go pretend that August is a reasonable time to wear a wool-and-mohair blend knit hat and go show it off. Not everyone might know right away that it’s a hat that displays your spectacular math love, but the right people will.

Mischief Managed

There is a special kind of joy in making something that you know that someone is going to love.

2014-03-01 529

My friend Bailee (introduced earlier on the blog by taking some super awesome pictures while I made pie) is the biggest Harry Potter fan that I have met. Possibly the biggest one ever.

2014-03-01 555

Those in the know now know that she is not messing around.

2014-03-01 755

She loves all of the best things in all of the best ways. I’m talking about that kind of unabashed, un-self-conscious, super-hardcore-fan love that gives artists a reason for making more beautiful art. She loves things out loud, and makes sure that everyone else knows about all of the awesome things that they might have missed out on because they were too busy trying to look cool and pretend that they wouldn’t really rather spend any day of their lives drinking wine and watching Sherlock instead of anything else.

2014-03-01 756

What do you give to someone like that?

Well, first, you know that accuracy is key. You do some research and you find the Harry Potter scarf pattern to end all Harry Potter scarf patterns, Atypically Knit’s Prisoner of Azkaban scarf.

This thing is a beast. 521 rounds of pure stripy stockinette wooliness. Plus casting on, then binding off. And weaving in all those ends!

2014-03-01 757

Not to mention all that fringe.

2014-03-01 762

2014-03-01 339

This thing is an undertaking that is only worthy of the most deserving. Those people who will indulge you on your Tom Hiddleston obsession. Those people who will always take the time to listen to your problems and give you their respect by telling you theirs. Those people who know how to rock a crazy woolen scarf in New Orleans weather.

2014-03-01 537

Which sometimes means wearing it right next to a stone lion right where Brad Pitt sat on a park bench in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, even if only the photographer loves that movie.

Down to brass tacks, then we’ll get back to the modeling, I promise.

2014-03-01 341

This was stitched up over countless hours in Brown Sheep’s Nature Spun Worsted (link is to Paradise Fibers, where I ordered this yarn and had a lovely yarn shopping experience, in general), a fantastic workhorse worsted wool, perfect for projects that need to look absolutely perfect and last for a good long time. It’s got some fantastic stitch definition, something you don’t often see in the 100% wool universe.

2014-03-01 346

I went with the colors Blue Knight and Gray Heather, trying to get the most accurate Ravenclaw scarf that I could. There’s plenty more suggestions for yarn types and colors in the pattern, but I think that these in particular look beautiful together.

2014-03-01 347

And can we talk about that fringe?

2014-03-01 349

I know that fringe can be a major pain sometimes, especially after you’ve done so much knitting and yet you are still not done. In order to get this fringe looking its best, I flat-blocked the whole scarf first, being sure to keep the stripe jog along one side seam. After it was dry, I attached the fringe one tiny bundle at a time to the open ends of the scarf, closing them up by working through both sides of the fabric. I feel like this left a much cleaner seam that would have resulted if I had chosen to sew things up first.  Then the fringe got steam-pressed and trimmed up a bit, just to make things more evened-out, but not too severe.

Back to the modeling? Yes!

2014-03-01 534

Mardi Gras is actually the perfect time of year for scarves, because the New Orleans weather just cannot figure itself out. It can be simultaneously windy, sunny, and freezing, all during the same 3 hours that you are standing and waiting for a parade. This scarf actually made its first official public appearance while Bailee, Dan, and I went to Nyx, Bailee’s first ever Mardi Gras parade.

2014-03-01 548

It works well as a babushka, whenever needed.

2014-03-01 544

But, in all actuality, and I am quoting here, you could wrap it around your entire head and still have enough left to keep your neck warm.

2014-03-01 540

(I know that I just heard collective groans from Gryffindors everywhere. There are just no stone ravens out here, I swear.)

It’s huge and warm and ridiculous, with just enough class to go everywhere. Just more reasons why everyone needs to have an excessively long double-sided woolen scarf.

But not this one. It’s already taken.  And loved.

2014-03-01 550

Friendship + Apples + Almost Famous = Love

I had a test yesterday, but it was hard to concentrate because all I could think about was getting home so that I could make pie.

2014-02-15 332

After submitting my last answer, I got in the car and flew to the grocery store, where they rewarded me with a free flower and a smile. Hooray for Valentine’s Day!

2014-02-15 229

Trip doesn’t understand yet that flowers are not to be eaten.

2014-02-15 232

2014-02-15 234

Dan and I have a bit of a running joke in our house, where if I ever express uncertainty as to what to make, or claim that I am bored during the day, he tells me to make an apple pie for him. No matter what day it is or what occasion might be coming up, you can be sure that Dan wants apple pie. What better day than Valentine’s Day to finally indulge him and make him up a pie? Betty helped out.

2014-02-15 288

Also, what better day than to hang out with your totally awesome friend Bailee, who will take awesome action shots of the whole pie-making process? None.

2014-02-15 235

2014-02-15 253

2014-02-15 243

Action!

2014-02-15 277

2014-02-15 282

2014-02-15 293

(Oh, Bailee, please forgive me for posting this picture, but you cannot possibly understand how much I love it.)

Not only did we make pie, but we also completely embraced our Palentine’s Day, watching Attack the Block, my new favorite British sci-fi action movie (not a packed genre, I know), eating carrots and hummus in an attempt to be healthy before the rest of the day’s festivities, and laughing more than seems healthy at my failed attempts at crust.

Yep, you read that right. There was some spectacular crust failure going on, either from too warm temperatures or too much shortening. Knowing me, probably both. The poor crust was somehow both sticky and crumbly, and just would not get off the countertop and into a pie plate without me losing my mind. Solution?

2014-02-15 262

Hearts! We broke out the cookie cutters and got to improvising. My original idea was for them to turn out something like this, but we all know that Pinterest can be a real danger zone when it comes to overestimating your own abilities. That said, I think that things looked pretty cute once we got rolling.

2014-02-15 290

2014-02-15 284

2014-02-15 295

Cute!

2014-02-15 258

We attracted some attention.

If you noticed earlier, there were two apple pies on my counter. One of these was going to one of Dan’s coworkers, a super nice man named Mike who unfortunately lost his wife this past fall. We wanted to brighten his day by including him in our baked goods rotation for Valentine’s Day, but I wasn’t too sure about the hearts. Solution #2?

2014-02-15 298

2014-02-15 302

Stars!

Can you tell that Bailee is ridiculously taller than me? It makes these shots that I normally have to stand on a chair to get seem super simple. Anyone else think that she should come and do blog photos all the time? Me too.

2014-02-15 303

Super messy doughy countertop.

2014-02-15 305

2014-02-15 312

But look at those pies! Everything got a light eggwash and a sprinkling of sugar before going into the oven.

2014-02-15 314

2014-02-15 316

The shapes kind of…melted into the apples a bit, so they lost their definition, but I still think that they came out really festive.

2014-02-15 319

And then you don’t need to say that love is the secret ingredient, because it’s right there on the top, in full view. Love in sugary buttered form.

2014-02-15 323

I’m sure that no one will be shocked to hear that Dan and I each ate a piece of it before going out for Valentine’s Day dinner.

2014-02-15 335

It just seemed like the right thing to do.  Even with all the crust failure, it still tasted amazing.  Warm and cinnamon-y and perfect.

IMG_0749

Gifts were exchanged. I got Dan the adorable Zombie in Love, illustrated by one of Dan’s favorite artists, Scott Campbell. He got me one of the original double-sided placards from when Almost Famous came out in theaters.

This is more than just a poster, really. I don’t believe that I have ever told this story before on the blog, so let me tell you about the day that Dan and I met. In 2006, I used to play D&D with a couple of people that Dan lived with. One day, we decided to go over to their house to play a minifigure-type game, and Dan was there, getting ready to watch a movie. He put in Almost Famous, which I had also never seen, and I asked if I could watch it with him. He said that would be great and asked me if I wanted a drink. For the next two hours, he kept asking me questions about the movie and the music, so much that I originally thought that he wasn’t really paying much attention to the movie for some reason. He later told me that he was doing this intentionally to get me to talk to him.

Cue the “awwww.”

About a week later, he showed up at a piano bar when my friends and I went out, and we spent our time together making origami napkin animals and flowers at the end of the table. We started dating a week later and have been inseparable ever since. Ever since that night, Almost Famous has been our movie. We even plan to name our first child (if FutureBaby ever becomes a reality) William, because William Miller is the name of the main character. Yes, we are dorks. But it means a lot. Hearing that Philip Seymour Hoffman died a few weeks ago really hit me where it hurts because he is responsible for one of the most wonderful moments in that movie. In movies period, really.

Sigh. I’m getting sad about it again just writing about it. Let’s look at a picture of a tiny owl instead.

IMG_0751

He also got me a tiny owl. It’s pretty great.

After the pie, we got ourselves all fancied up…

341

…and went to one of my favorite places.

342

Tujague’s is a New Orleans institution. It’s super old, and super dedicated to doing things the way they’ve always done them. An oak bar that’s over a hundred years old with cloudy glass, cracked terrazzo tile, white tablecloths, and prix fixe. It’s one of my favorite places.

346

347

Then there was a lovely walk in the French Quarter, just to round out the evening. There would have been coffee at Café du Monde, if we felt as though there was any more rooms in our stomachs, thanks to crawfish gnocchi, corn and crab chowder, amazing steak and shrimp, and caramel cheesecake. And the apple pie we ate before we left, of course.

But, hey! It was Valentine’s Day! We’re allowed to be ridiculous and share our love of food along with our love of each other, right?

2014-02-15 297

Thanks so much to Bailee for her awesome pictures and fabulous company on this very lovely of Pal/Valentine’s days! I hope that all of you had a wonderful time yourselves and got to spend some quality time with the people and things that you love, like I did.

Oh, and I love you guys, too. Don’t forget that.