Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cubicle kitchen: Cotton Candy Cookie Fudge Bars

Oftentimes my treats come with little excuses as to why eating them isn't such an indulgence.  Excuses like:
Lemon curd is excellent for warding off scurvy!
Peanut butter is full of protein!  It's like delicious workout fuel!
I snuck peas in there!  That's a legitimate vegetable!
Cream cheese...that means calcium!
But I can't really think of a good excuse for these, they are pure, delicious sugar.  If I can say anything for them, it would be that because they are so sweet, you don't need to eat too large a square to satisfy your sweet tooth.

And aesthetically, I love the color that this Frosting Creations flavor turned the fudge.  It would be perfect for a baby shower.  Or just to make my Sochi Socki.

Cotton Candy Cookie Fudge Bars
Makes a 9x13" pan


  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker Cotton Candy Cookie Mix
  • Additional ingredients as called for by the mix
  • 1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • 1 packet Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Cotton Candy


  1. Prepare cookie dough as directed on package, but instead of forming cookies, press dough into a prepared pan.  Bake until edges are golden and center looks done.  Set aside while you prepare the fudge.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine condensed milk, chips, and frosting flavor packet.  Microwave on medium-high heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate has melted completely.  Be careful not to overheat.
  3. Pour fudge on top of the cookie layer in the pan, using a spatula to even it out if necessary.
  4. Allow fudge to chill completely before cutting into squares.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday: A post- post- post- post

I'm back from my whirlwind trip to Phoenix, and still settling into the day-to-day of being post-race, post-vacation, and post-Ravellenics.  All of these things that I anticipated and planned for for weeks or months in advance have now passed, and it's on to the next set of goals to look forward to.  But for this week, at least, I'm happy to spend some time in limbo.

I did my first real run since the marathon this evening on the treadmill at the gym, and it felt good.  But it was strange to not have a distance mandated to me and to just go as long as I wanted to, basically until it was time to go meet my dad for dinner.  I'll probably start joining some group exercise classes and venturing beyond the treadmill, but again, I'm enjoying a little unstructured, non-training time.

I may have crossed the marathon finish line, but I didn't quite cross the Ravellenics finish line in the way I had originally intended.  Originally, I had wanted to finish my pair of Sochi Socki.  I was hopeful when I was packing up on Thursday night, making sure to bring all of the notions that I would need to finish up the second sock.

I even made it through security with the most 'threatening' knitting needles possible: metal DPNs.  While circulars could be used as a strangulation device, there's something particularly stabby about metal DPNs that makes me want to avoid bringing them anywhere they might be viewed as a security threat.  But thankfully the TSA was knit-friendly and didn't seem to give them a second glance.

On the flight to Phoenix I completed the leg of my sock, but by the end of Friday night I had pretty much accepted that I wasn't going to be able to turn the heel and complete the rest of the foot.  And I guess because I was trading that in for going to visit gorgeous gardens and scenic ghost towns, it didn't devastate me all that much.  And I was still able to submit my first sock as part of the side country challenge for projects that don't fit in anywhere else.  It may not have its mate yet, but it's still my first sock, and an achievement unto itself.

Just because the deadline has passed doesn't mean that I'm going to slow down too much in trying to finish the pair, though.  I managed to turn the heel while on the flight back, and am now making my way through the foot:

I love how my project bag matches the colors on the yarn, and I also love the short bursts of color on the yarn, because there's no real pooling of any colors that makes the heel stand out.

And as for being post-vacation, well, I'll be posting some pictures from a very inspiring Phoenix this Saturday, so stay tuned.

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go to Tami's Amis.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cubicle kitchen: Citrus Panettone Bread Pudding

For me, there are two phases of enjoying seasonal treats.  The first is the traditional way, and the second is the far more interesting reinvention of said treat.  This usually happens after the holiday is over and I'm able to stock up in clearance and experiment.  For example, making Homemade Butterfingers out of candy corn.

Panettone is a kind of Italian sweet bread, studded with dried fruits, particularly candied citrus zest.  It gets more respect than it's Christmas carbohydrate cousin, the oft-maligned fruit cake, but it's still plentiful on the shelves of World Market and Central Market in the final days of December for half off. It's tasty as it is, but I can see why after a slice or two on Christmas Day it might not seem exciting enough to finish the loaf.

There are always options for adding excitement to cakey and/or bready leftovers, though.  Maybe a little panettone french toast for Boxing Day brunch, for instance?  Since french toast doesn't really work as a treat to bring into work, though, I went with another classic treatment: bread pudding.  It's not the first time I've done something like this, with yet another Christmas-y sweet bread, in fact.  But the flavors here are different enough from my Mini Stollen Bread Puddings last year to warrant a return to the custard-soaked goodness of this type of dessert.

After a little Google searching, I found this recipe over on Flourish, King Arthur Flour's blog.  I love that it plays on the citrus-leanings of the panettone, keeping it from being just rich and bland.  And because my mother loves lemon and bread pudding, putting the two together resulted in what may be her favorite dish yet.

Citrus Panettone Bread Pudding
Recipe from King Arthur Flour: Panettone Bread Pudding

My notes:
  • I had two smaller loaves of panettone so I doubled the recipe in a 9x13 pan, and baking for about twice the time
  • Instead of half and half or cream, I melted the same amount of ice cream and did not add the 1/4 cup of sugar in the recipe
  • I used an entire jar of lemon curd from Trader Joe's for the filling (with perhaps a little reserved for me)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Inspiration Saturday: I did

I still can't quite believe that I ran a marathon.  I know I did, but somehow it's hard to reconcile the mythic 26.2 mile accomplishment with something that I've done.  But whether I believe it or not, it's true.

I did wake up before the sun on Sunday with a foggy mist hanging over the Capitol building:

The crazy weather was kind enough to not be freezing, and it was relatively warm.  And once you start running, you're plenty warm:

I did run down South Congress all the way to Ben White.

I did run back up 1st and crossed the bridge to get back downtown.

I did run all the way up Austin, elevation-wise and North-wise.  I was probably just a few hundre yards from Yogurtland up at Northcross, but in other strong show of willpower, I remained on the course.

I did make it up the final, insult-to-injury hill that you face when you make your way back around the Capitol building.

I did listen to the 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' theme as I pushed myself towards the finish line.  Because imagining an ascending Mayor chasing you through an explosive-laden high school hallway is the motivation you need after 26.1 miles for the last .1.

I did cross the finish line.

I did raid the tables of post-race sustenance in the finisher's shoot. A banana and a protein cookie never tasted so good.

I did wear the medal for the rest of the day.  Not that I spent much time out socializing after all that, but it stayed on until we got home.  I was tempted to wear it to work, but I refrained.  Even when I found out that out of the few hundred of employees that had registered, I had somehow ended up the 3rd female finisher of the full marathon amongst them.  Given that it took me 6 hours, I think that says more about the limited number of women who ran the full than it does about my speed, but that still shows me that I did something not everyone does.

And I did really, really enjoy the huge bowl of pink grapefruit sorbet that we stopped off to get on he the way home.

I did it!

For more inspiration, go to Woolen Diversions

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Smiles and miles

Cue the Rocky music!

I did it!  I made it from start to finish and all 26.2 of the miles in between.  And I managed to have a smile on my face most of the time, at least when I knew someone was taking a picture:

More on my marathon experience in its very own post.  I've given myself the last couple of days to rest and recuperate when it comes to my running feet and my blogging fingers, but trust me, I have plenty to share about the six-hour experience.

Funnily enough, I think I had a bigger smile on my face when I cast off the first of my pair of Sochi Socki than I did when I finished the marathon.  But that might have something to do with the relative levels of exhaustion caused by the two activities.  After all, Kitchener stitch might be a skill, but it doesn't tend to leave you feeling as sore as long distance running does.  It's just so cool to knit the final stitch and instantly have a real sock that fits your foot and you made it and…well, you get the idea.

I took a photo of my sock with a sneak peek of the treats I brought in today because they were both so prettily pastel they almost match.  I've finished the cuff of the second sock, trying to get in as much knitting as possible to make it to the finish line in time for the end of the Olympics.  Apparently I'm always racing.

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go to Tami's Amis.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Inspiration Saturday: Get set...

This week, I can't say that I have as much inspiration as I have anticipation.  I'm less than twelve hours away from the starting line, and I'm definitely feeling the surge of anxiety.  So I'm going to recite some mantras to myself, find something light to eat, and see if I can pretend to sleep soon.

Spare me a thought tomorrow when you're enjoying a lazy Sunday, I can use all of the good vibes I can get.  And I promise you a proud and sweaty finisher photo.

For more inspiration (featuring my own WIP socks!), go to Woolen Diversions.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday: On your mark...

The marathon is now close enough that I can check the weather forecast.  Sunday is the day.  This time next week, I will be a marathon finisher.  Whoa.  If I take too long to think about it, it's a little crazy.

But most of the time, to borrow a word I first heard on the wonderful British comedy 'As Time Goes By', I'm feeling rather sanguine about it.  I've been told that there's very little attrition between the starting line and the finish, so if you can make it through the training and get there Sunday morning, you're probably going to finish.  And since that's all I want to do, and I feel like I can, it's just a matter of getting through those half a dozen hours.  And deciding how to reward myself.

Hopefully I'll be rewarding my feet soon with their own hand knit socks.  Here are the shoes I'll wear them with, along with the progress I made over the weekend:

Since then, I have turned the heel of the first sock and am working on the gusset.  As of this afternoon:

Just like training for the marathon, it's amazing what a well-laid out plan, or pattern in this case, can do for you.  Just follow the instructions, taking them step by step, and eventually you will find yourself at a place you might have thought was too hard to get to.  Marathon running, sock knitting, it's all the same kind of thing.

Or maybe that's just the pre-race jitters talking.

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go to Tami's Amis.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cubicle kitchen: Archduke Chocula Cookies

There is something so visceral about children's cereal.  Whether you were given free rein to eat a glorified dessert for the most important meal of the day, or you were left spooning bran flakes and coveting Cap'n Crunch, it's a shared experience that crosses generational boundaries.

Bringing in these cookies sparked a really fun discussion of childhood cereals.  One coworker had memories of something called 'King Vitaman', while another told tales of a cereal that you could stack up into a tall tower (because playing with your food is fun!).  I have a wide range of nostalgic breakfast cereals, and I still enjoy eating cereal almost every day, though usually as a sweet evening snack.  Because there's no sweeter way to end the day than with Apple Jacks and pumpkin ice cream.

Except maybe with these cookies.  These are cute, chunky nuggets of chocolate, not the most photogenic, but absolutely delicious.  If the cereal is a Count, then the cookies have to at least be Archduke, because I threw in white, milk, and dark chocolate chips into the already chocolate dough along with the namesake cereal.  It gave them a nice crunchy texture and the occasional marshmallow bit was a nice surprise.  To borrow another cereal's tagline: They're grrrrrrrrrreat!'

Archduke Chocula Cookies
Recipe from Hershey's 'Perfectly Chocolate' Chocolate Chip Cookies

My notes:
  • I used Ghiradelli sweet ground chocolate, following the substitution on the packaging; in this case, adding 2/3 cup of the cocoa and removing 1/3 cup of the white sugar called for in the recipe
  • I used a combination of white, milk, and dark chocolate chips for the 2 cups of chips called for in the recipe
  • Where the original recipe includes 1 cup of nuts optionally, I just added 1 cup of Count Chocula cereal
  • Made 5-6 dozen cookies

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Inspiration Saturday: Shades of Pemberley

I showed you most of my FOs from the Jane Austen swap yesterday, but here's one that I thought deserved its own post.  Inspiration is always an important part of these swaps for me, extracting something from the theme, mixing it in with the likes and dislikes of your spoilee, and applying it to something you can create.

In this case, I took some Kool-Aid, some bare mini-skeins, and more than a dozen quote from Austen works to create a collection of colorways that I called 'Shades of Pemberley' (as in, are they to be thus polluted?).  As always, home dyeing is about tempering your intentions with your results, and just enjoying the colors however they turn out.

So here are the shades of Pemberley:

And here they are a little closer up, followed by their inspirational quotes:

Top row:

From left to right:
  1. "My dear Mr. Bennet, you must not expect such girls to have the sense of their father and mother.  When they get to our age, I dare say they will not think about officers any more than we do.  I remember the time when I liked a red coat myself very well - and, indeed, so I do still at my heart; and if a smart young colonel, with five or six thousand a year, should want one of my girls I shall not say nay to him; and I thought Colonel Forster looked very becoming the other night at Sir William's in his regimentals."
  2. They had a very fine day for Box Hill; and all the other outward circumstances of arrangement, accomodation, and punctuality, were in favor of a pleasant party.
  3. Her father's comfort was amply secured, Mrs. Bates as well as Mrs. Goddard being able to come; and her last pleasing duty, before she left the house, was to pay her respects to them as they sat together after dinner; and while her father was fondly noticing the beauty of her dress, to make the two ladies all the amends in her power, by helping them to large slices of cake and full glasses of wine, for whatever unwilling self-denial his care of their constitution might have obliged them to practise during the meal. - She had provided a plentiful dinner for them; she wished she could know that they had been allowed to eat it.
  4. Elinor, this eldest daughter whose advice was so effectual, possessed a strength of understanding, and coolness of judgment...She had an excellent heart; her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings were strong: but she knew how to govern them...Marianne's abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor's.  She was sensible and clever, but eager in everything; her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation.  She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent.
  5. "Mrs. Bates, let me propose your venturing on one of these eggs.  An egg boiled very soft is not unwholesome.  Serle understands boiling an egg better than any body.  I would not recommend an egg boiled by any body else; but you need not be afraid, they are very small, you see - one of our small eggs will not hurt you.  Miss Bates, let Emma help you to a little bit of tart - a very little bit.  Ours are all apple-tarts.  You need not be afraid of unwholesome preserves here.  I do not advise the custard.  Mrs. Goddard, what say you to half a glass of wine?  A small half-glass, put into a tumbler of water? I do not think it could disagree with you."
Middle row:

From left to right:
  1. ...Elizabeth continued her walk alone, crossing field after field at a quick pace, jumping over stiles and springing over puddles with impatient activity, and finding herself at last within view of the house, with weary ankles, dirty stockings, and a face glowing with the warmth of exercise.
  2. Mrs. Elton, in all her apparatus of happiness, her large bonnet and her basket, was very ready to lead the way in gathering, accepting, or talking - strawberries, and only strawberries, could now be thought or spoken of.  "The best fruit in England - everybody's favourite - always wholesome. - These the finest beds and finest sorts. - Delightful to gather for one's self - the only way of really enjoying them. - Morning decidedly the best time - never tired - every good sort - hautboy infinitely superior - no comparison - the others hardly eatable - hautboys very scarce - Chili preferred - white wood finest flavour of all - price of strawberries in London - abundance about Bristol - Maple Grove - cultivation - beds when to be renewed - gardeners never to be put out of their way - delicious fruit - only too rich to be eaten much of - inferior to cherries - currants more refreshing - only objection to gathering strawberries the stooping - glaring sun - tired to death - could bear it no longer - must go and sit in the shade."
  3. “The Very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone.”
  4. Emma...then joined Harriet at the interesting counter, - trying, with all the force of her own mind, to convince her that if she wanted plain muslin it was of no use to look at figured; and that a blue ribbon, be it ever so beautiful, would still never match her yellow pattern.  At last it was all settled, even to the destination of the parcel.
  5. Catherine's blood ran cold with the horrid suggestions which naturally sprang from these words.  Could it be possible? Could Henry's father - ?  And yet how many were the examples to justify even the blackest suspicions!
Bottom row:

From left to right:
  1. The letter, with a direction hardly legible, to "Miss A. E. - ," was evidently the one which he had been folding so hastily.  While supposed to be writing only to Captain Benwick, he had been also addressing her!  On the content of that letter depended all which with world could do for her.  Anything was possible, anything might be defied rather than suspense…sinking into the chair which he had occupied, succeeding to the very spot where he had leaned and written, her eyes devoured the following words:
  2. "Will not your mind misgive you when you find yourself in this gloomy chamber - too lofty and extensive for you, with only the feeble rays of a single lamp to take in its size - its walls hung with tapestry exhibiting figures as large as life, and the bed, of dark green stuff or purple velvet, presenting a funereal appearance?  Will not your heart sink within you?"
  3. The day was uncommonly lovely.  It was really March; but it was April in its mild air, brisk soft wind, and bright sun, occasionally clouded for a minute; and everything looked so beautiful under the influence of such a sky; the effects of the shadows pursuing each other on the ships and Spithead and the island beyond, with the ever-varying hues of the sea, now at high water, dancing in its glee and dashing against the ramparts with so fine a sound, produced altogether such a combination of charms for Fanny, as made her gradually almost careless of the circumstances under which she felt them.
  4. To this nest of comforts Fanny now walked down to try its influence on an agitated, doubting spirit, to see if by looking at Edmund's profile she could catch any of his counsel, or by giving air to her geraniums she might inhale a breeze of mental strength herself.
  5. Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim.  Catherine knew all this very well; her great aunt had read her a lecture on the subject only the Christmas before; and yet she lay awake ten minutes on Wednesday night debating between her spotted and her tamboured muslin, and nothing but the shortness of the time prevented her buying a new one for the evening.
For more inspiration, go to Woolen Diversions.

Friday, February 7, 2014

FO Friday: Projects universally acknowledged

It may not seem like it, but I really am cutting back on my swapping in favor of more 'selfish' knits.  Having said that, here are some FOs from a recently completed swap themed around Jane Austen.

First, a pair of fingerless mitts from the first volume of the Jane Austen Knits magazine from Interweave.  I call them Sense & Swapping Mitts:

I love the subtle color shift of the yarn.  The lace pattern isn't the easiest to 'see' while you are knitting, which for a paranoid knitter like me can be troubling, but in the end I was happy with how light and delicate these turned out to be.

And with some of the extra yarn, I used instructions from another volume of Jane Austen Knits to make some matching Dorset buttons:

Once I got the hang of it, making them was really fun.  Is there a more specific verb than 'make' when it comes to buttons?  Haberdashed?  Whatever it is, I'd like to do some more of it, to have buttons that perfect match my knitwear.

Here's another fun verb: decoupage.  I decoupaged the cover of a hardback copy of Sense & Sensibility:

I sourced the scraps of paper from what I cut out while turning the book into a secret hiding place:

With Mod Podge and an Exacto knife, this is relatively easy, if a little tedious, to do.  It does feel a little bit wrong to destroy an Austen novel, but I don't think she would mind for these special circumstances.

Here's what I think I'm most proud of.  I'm calling it the Wibbly Wobbly Cosy Wosy:

It's for my spoilee's Kindle Fire, with a cameo-esque silhouette of the Tenth Doctor.  Colorwork and a made the chart myself.  I'm not a Time Lord, but this made me feel like a Knit Lord.  My calculations and swatching didn't take into account a change in gauge while doing colorwork, though, so it initially ended up a bit bigger than I intended.  My mom lined it with some sweatshirt material, so it's smaller on the inside.  Ironic, yes?

I cast on this morning for my Sochi Socki, and so far so good.  Between those and my cardigan, hopefully I'll be able to show you more FOs in the coming weeks.  For more this week, go to Tami's Amis.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WIP Wednesday: It's not cheating, it's strategy

Yesterday I heard on NPR about a controversy brewing on Jeopardy that did not involve host Alex Trebek's facial hair.  There was a contestant, Arthur Chu, who had been using game theory to play the game.  Some viewers didn't like it; they weren't happy with the effect that those strategies had on their experience of the game show and perhaps found them a little 'villainous'.

For example, he was searching for the Daily Doubles on the board by going across the rows, starting closer to the bottom to maximize his chances of catching those clues that allow you to double your money.  It's harder to follow along when you are crossing categories like this and enter into various subjects at the more advanced, 'expensive' level of questions.  He would also race as quickly as possible through the board to try and catch as many clues as possible to rack up his total before the round ended.  Here's the story I heard (fingers crossed that the embed code works!):

Personally, I feel like whatever you can do within the rules to maximize your potential to bring home the bucks, go for it.  Contestants are not required to play a certain way, and certainly not just to satisfy the way I find it easier to watch.  They only have one chance to win this money, they should get all that they can.  And after all, the best strategy can only do so much to improve your performance.  In the end, you have to be able to answer the questions in order to control the board at all.

Using whatever strategy you can to get things done is not something we should feel guilty about.  To that end, I'm not going to stress over having my mom sew in the first sleeve of my cardigan for me, or for having her help me pick up the stitches for my ruffles.  I have sewn along the straight edges, but setting in the sleeves would probably have taken me three times as long, and I'm sure there would have been some tears of frustration involved.  Similarly, I know I can pick up stitches, but I haven't done it enough to know that I would be picking them up uniformly, and I might have come out with a slightly disfigured ruffle to start.

What's important to me is that for the most part, I am the one making this cardigan.  If I had to, I could do it all by myself.  But I'm not all by myself, and at this point I would rather try and get this done than be able to claim every last stitch as my own.  You have to take advantage of what you have, knowing that it's ultimately your own achievement.

And with that, here's my cardigan so far:

The other sleeve is also done, just not sewn in yet.  I'm nearly done with the right front band, and after that, I'll sew those to the edge and then do the neckband, plus some beading.  Then I'll have my first cardigan!

Because of the Olympics starting on Friday, I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to divert from my socks for the cardigan, but I'm hoping that perhaps I can knit those and still have time to finish this in time for my trip to Phoenix.

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go to Tami's Amis.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cubicle kitchen: Mini Gingerbread Cake Donuts

There are two reasons I like to bake mini things.  The first is practical: you get more servings of something when you make it smaller.  More servings means more people to share the sugar love with.  The second has nothing to do with practicality: mini things are cute!  Making anything miniature magically makes it more adorable.  It's a rule of cuteness that translates from bunnies to baked goods.  So I was really excited when I found these Wilton pans on clearance over the holidays:

I foresee many different donuts being baked, but I started with a gingerbread flavor, while the spicy holiday notes were still familiarly festive.  I used a cake mix because I have a few stashed away after the post-holiday clearance sales and there's no point in hoarding them.

Using a piping bag, whether it's a 'real' fancy one or one made from a plastic bag, really helps to fill the pan with a minimum of mess.  My first batch was slightly overfilled and ended up more like bundt cakes, but eventually I got the hang of it and ended up with another genre of desserts to add to my repertoire.

Mini Gingerbread Cake Donuts
Adapted from the recipe on the back of the Wilton pan packaging

Makes about 3 dozen


  • 1 3/4 cups cake mix (I used a Gingerbread Cake and Cookie Mix)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • Optional glazing: cinnamon honey butter, powdered sugar glaze with pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar crumbles


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.  Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix together cake mix, buttermilk, egg, and melted butter until just combined.
  3. Transfer batter to a large plastic bag, cutting the tip of one corner off to pipe the batter into the pan, filling half full.
  4. Bake 4-6 minutes until done.  Let cool in pan for a few minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.
  5. Place lining beneath the cooling rack and add any glazes you prefer.  Here's what I did:
    • Heated about a cup of cinnamon honey butter and dunked the top half of the donuts
    • Mixed a glaze of powdered sugar and buttermilk with some pumpkin pie spice and drizzled that on top
    • Sprinkled on some crumbs of cooked brown sugar from a previous baking adventure

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Inspiration Saturday: Beaded knitting

As of this week, I can declare myself to be a knitter who can bead.  It was many moons ago that I purchased beads from Sea of Beads in North Austin that matched my cardigan yarn so perfectly.  And it was only a few days ago that I showed you my in-progress bottom ruffle including beads.  I only needed to purl one more row and cast off, but you'd be surprised how long that takes with that many stitches.

Now, the ruffle is done, and I'm even more proud of my first foray into beading:

You can't see the shimmer of the beads as much in photos, but what I like is the subtle way they catch the light every once in a while, particularly as part of a frilly ruffle.  I still have two sleeve ruffles to do, and possibly some beading on the neck if I have some left over, but I'm already looking forward to possible beading in other projects.

Like Laura Aylor's Faberge, which uses beads to make the scale quilting stitch really special:

Photo credit: Laura Aylor
While that's the sophisticated side of beading, I also find myself drawn to the fun side, like in Twinkie Chan's Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies, where beads act as crafty sprinkles for cupcakes and cookies you can wear:

I've only ever crocheted a chain before, but these just look like so much fun, and the bead sprinkles are too cute.

A scarf that would probably be more appropriate to wear everyday but still has some beaded flair is the TNT Beaded Scarf by Deanna K. Van Assche:

Photo caption: Interlacement Yarns
My mom has this pattern as part of a kit she bought in Navasota at WC Mercantile, along with some yummy Bluebonnet Hills Alpaca Ranch yarn and Czech glass beads.  Maybe after she makes hers, I'll try one myself.

Have you added beads to your knitting? What are your favorite kinds of projects?  For more inspiration, go to Woolen Diversions.