My cupcakes bring all the boys to the yard.

Oct 03 2013

Page Two of my Typography Sketchbook. Now introducing all your hopes & dreams.

Which is actually a new version of a very, very old sketchbook page of mine. February 22, 2005. My last year of college in an amazing apartment on the corner of Sheffield and Webster that had a giant bay window in the bedroom that overlooked the beautiful St. Vincent DePaul church. Right when Scott and I were first falling in love. I had high hopes and all of the schmaltz. Eight and a half years later…it’s still true.

Sometimes, you just know.


I’ma take your grandma’s style

Sep 26 2013

To the tune of Thrift Shop


No for real – ask your grandma- can I have her knit-me-downs? (Thank you)

I’m gonna knit some shawls
Only got twenty stitches til my short row
I – I – I’m knitting, purling to the cast-off.
This is fucking awesome.

Admittedly, many of my lifestyle choices are pretty “grandma-ly”. I enjoy sitting in my rocking chair with a cat on my lap, needles in hand, cup of tea at my elbow and muttering about whippersnappers. But I drew the line at shawls. That was just too far. NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE. I finally broke down and knit a shawl. To be fair, it’s the wildly popular Color Affection by Veera Välimäki.


This pattern is pretty rad! It’s very simple but a wonderful way to introduce yourself to short rows. This is a super handy knitting technique used for shaping fabric. Essentially, you’re knitting along and then you just turn the knitting around and knit in the other direction (with varying wrap techniques— developed by different knitters) creating a wedge in your fabric. These wedges accommodate curves and allow you to shape garments to your actual body rather than ending up with a boxier garment. For the purposes of the Color Affection, however, it helps to shape the shawl into a croissant which drapes nicely over shoulders.


Check out that croissant action! And blocking on our tiny balcony.

The other reason Color Affection is such a popular pattern is that it’s a nice excuse to play with color schemes. Everyone ends up with a pretty unique shawl due to color customization! There are over TEN THOUSAND Color Affections on Ravelry. That is both INSANE and INCREDIBLE.


I decided to knit one of these bad boys while at Knitting Camp with my bff, Celeste; mostly at her suggestion. She’s my knitting guru for sure. Knitting Camp falls just after my birthday which is awesome because I have some birthday money to spend on fancypants yarn at the camp market! I indulged and bought some beautiful yarn from Sun Valley Fibers. I mixed two different blends of their yarn unintentionally. They are the same weight but have slightly different fiber content. Two of the yarns are merino wool, cashmere and nylon while the other is merino wool, cashmere and SILK. Let me tell you: if I had been paying more attention during my yarn frenzy, I would have totally opted to snag all of the colors in a silk option. Both blends are delightful to touch but seriously: the one with silk feels like heaven. Sun Valley Fibers actually claims on the product page but I am backing this statement up. Heaven. It’s soft, durable and has the most wonderful drape. The silk adds just a touch of weight to the mix that really steps it up a notch. I think next year’s splurge will be enough of this lovely yarn to make myself a sweater.


Back to the pattern at hand. I’ve never knit a shawl before and while I may have owned a poncho at some point, I definitely haven’t owned a shawl. I wasn’t sure if I would really wear it that frequently but it’s ended up being quite cozy. I’m approaching it as a pashmina/scarf/wrap item and for some reason that makes it’s place in my wardrobe make more sense. It might be nice to make on a smaller scale since the wingspan is pretty impressive. While this is handy when wrapping it up around myself, I feel like the tails end up getting in my way too much if they are just dangling.


Clearly, I love color. All of the colors and in all sorts of combinations. And this pattern really is a fun project to knit. It’s definitely cruise-able while consuming your favorite media and interesting enough with the short rows. Midway through the project, I got really excited and made plans to knit a few more of these in varying colors, thinking about some Sun Valley Fiber yarn I had in my stash from Knitting Camp 2012 and then supplementing with some more economical choices from Knitpicks.

Are you one of the ten thousand + people who knit the Color Affection? 
Link to it in the comments and share your awesome color palette!

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Typography Sketchbook: Make Something

Sep 19 2013


The start of a new project!
I finally found a good use for a sentimental sketchbook (a souvenir from an October trip to Paris with Scott last year). I had been saving it but I recently snagged a copy of Typography Sketchbooks which is amazing and full of awesome lettering! It has totally inspired me to start my own.

While I may frequently claim to have no soul, or that perhaps my heart is black and cold (where do you think the “rotten” part of these cupcakes comes from?)…my heart is actually full. It’s full of cheese.

I have a lot of super cheesy phrases that get stuck in my brain. Maybe I kind of repeat them to myself as some sort of mantra or a simple reminder. I usually write them down in my day planner and it helps me stay motivated, or inspired, throughout my week. I think they will be good fodder for this project but we’ll see. I might resort to borrowing some phrases from other sources from time to time (always with attribution!) but I will try for the most part to be original(ish).

Here’s page one!

It seemed like a good start. We’ll see where this goes!
Is there anything you try to remind yourself?


Mary Mary knit cardigan with cat face buttons

Sep 04 2013

mary mary a la rottencupcakes knit cardigan with cat buttons


No, really, I did. And I didn’t frog it immediately afterwards. Pretty exciting. Sounds weird that I have been knitting for over a decade but have never completed a sweater to a truly satisfactory level. UNTIL NOW (kind of). Meet Mary Mary, an adorable sweater pattern by Andrea Black knit in Anzula‘s Squishy which I bought on the Yarnover Truck when it was parked over at the Lab. This yarn, seriously, is loooooovely. 80% Superwash Merino (practicality and shape retention), 10% Cashmere (fancypants) and 10% Nylon (durability and shape retention).

I’ve spent most of my knitting years making cabled berets and small accessories. Sweaters have been my kryptonite! I did knit a small shrug for my wedding but was unhappy with the fit even after I knit the collar three separate times. I finished one other complete sweater; which I wore once, awkwardly and then frogged into oblivion. I got through the entire body of the Effortless Cardigan only to decide that it was the wrong yarn for the project and frog it. Then I took that yarn and made the body of the Shapely Boyfriend sweater which has also been frogged. So you see, me and sweaters are not good friends. So yay! A completed sweater!

I actually learned a lot of techniques with this sweater. A provisional cast on, buttonholes (which are a bit off but hey— first time!), how to drop a whole cable down to fix it’s direction and then knit it back up correctly. Oh and how to read a chart! Which was probably the hardest out of the lot but not all that hard. Next level knitting! I am one of those people who will fake myself out and think I can’t do something and become afraid of even trying it. Which is why a successful sweater from my needles is a big deal!


This is immediately after casting off, after a whole day of knitting at knitting camp talking about knitting nerd techniques (ALL KNIT ALL THE TIME). I was tired, it was late, but it was done! Seriously. Since this is right after casting off, it clearly hasn’t been blocked yet. You can kind of tell from how the ribbing is laying in various places, it’s kind of puffy and the bottom hem kept wanting to flip up. Blocking is magic. Don’t skip it. Natural fibers tend to be very flexible and remember their shape well which is why they respond so nicely to blocking. Blocking gives your garment a shape to remember.

The shaping of this pattern was pretty neat. I really liked the accented waistband the details along the sides of the waist. I made the smallest size for the pattern but think I would go up a size if I were going to knit it again. The only real modification that I did was adding a few repeats to the torso to accommodate my long waist. I love cables and figuring out how to fix a cable that was going to wrong way from several rows beyond it was pretty rad. You can actually just drop the stitches from the actual cable (so let’s say 4 stitches) down to just past the mistake and correct just that column of 4 stitches for the 20 rows that you sped ahead with. Huzzah!

After all this knitting work, I was having a hard time finding buttons that I liked to finish Mary Mary off. An idea occurred to me after playing around with some Sculpey a few weeks ago for some thumb-sized kitten gifts. I could just make my own buttons!


Polymer clay that you bake in the oven has been a staple of my craftlife since I was tiny  and making all the characters from the Labyrinth. I tend to just buy the white Sculpey III in a big block and go from there but as I found with the thumb-sized kittens, painting that stuff is a paint in the ass. It took several coats of acrylic paint to get a solid coating and it wasn’t the most even of applications despite being pretty careful. I decided to save myself the grief and just buy the color clay that I wanted the finished product to be. Black kittens is was. I bought the cheapest set of sculpting tools at Michael’s, a block of the black Sculpey and some Sculpey Satin Glaze.


Cat button madness! This clay is pretty soft to start with but I like to take a small ball (think cookie-dough-ball size) and work with it with my hands to get it warmed up and even more moldable. I made tiny balls from the clay which I then squished into discs and then I used the wooden modeling tool you see in the animated gif above to cut their little ears into their heads. Then I took a sewing needle and started stabbing holes in their tiny faces and pulling the needle all the way through to make sure the resulting hole would be large enough for a needle and thread to pass through it after baking. There is totally a metal tool for this in the craft aisle but I am cheap and loved MacGyver as a child; I enjoy making do. I kind of winged it on the shaping and sizing but if you want some mega-consistency, make a stencil for yourself and trim around that!


Once everyone’s face had been punctured, I popped these little dudes in the oven following the package directions. Baked them for about 15 minutes. Let them cool and then tried one out on the sweater (see the bottom right photo in the montage directly above). Happy with the sizing and their functionality, I glazed all of those little guys and baked them to set it. I think I did about 3 coats of the glaze which gave them a slight sheen and the glaze is supposed to set them permanently. You can also see the rad Hiya Hiya Locking Stitch markers I was using to remember where my buttons were supposed to attach.

In the test stitching, I tried to make a triangle shape for the little kitten nose but changed my mind when actually attaching them to the sweater because the little x’s looked more appropriate on their faces. The polymer clay is a tish heavy so it was important to keep these buttons pretty tiny.


Overall result: HAPPINESS. The Anzula Squishy yarn was delightful to work with (so soft!) and it’s superwash so I could put in the washer but I won’t because of the buttons. Handwashing is the destiny of this garment for sure. I would also recommend the Mary Mary pattern. It was a good way to break into chart reading and had some techniques I had been too intimidated to attempt but enough mindless stockinette cruising to keep me from getting too overwhelmed by those new skills. I really think that  this balance is important when learning any new skill. Take your basics and your comfort zone and then throw in 3 or 4 new or unpracticed techniques and you have a recipe for something that will be satisfying, successful and an expansion of your skills.

What skills have you leveled up recently? Any projects that you finished and are super stoked on? Share in the comments!

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Tonal Tuesday: trembling hands

Jul 02 2013

Tonal Tuesday: trembling hands #color #scheme #palette #rottencupcakes #green #coral #red #orange #blue #royalblue #gold #yellow

Tonal Tuesday: trembling hands

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Jul 01 2013

It’s JULY! Partytime! (it’s my birthday month!) From me, to you, happy design downloads for your digital and analog workspaces. Let’s keep it fancy!

To get the printable July 2013 calendar, click on the picture below. Save as to your computer.

Printer-Friendly July Calendar from rottencupcakes #calendar #color #freeprintable #monthlydownload

Printer-Friendly July Calendar

Desktop Wallpaper
To get a full size July 2013 desktop version, click on the images below. You have a choice of the crisp & clean wallpaper, mustard or lovely coral. Pick your poison!
Click to zoom in and then right click & save as to your computer.

July Desktop Wallpaper – Crisp & Clean from rottencupcakes #calendar #color #freeprintable #monthlydownload

July Desktop Wallpaper – Crisp & Clean

July Desktop Wallpaper – Mustard from rottencupcakes #calendar #color #freeprintable #monthlydownload

July Desktop Wallpaper – Mustard

July Desktop Wallpaper – Coral from rottencupcakes #calendar #color #freeprintable #monthlydownload

July Desktop Wallpaper – Coral

iPhone Wallpaper
To get an iPhone version, right click on the image below & save as to your computer.

Crisp & Clean iPhone Wallpaper from rottencupcakes #iphone #lockscreen #wallpaper #color #freedownload

Crisp & Clean iPhone Wallpaper

Mustard iPhone Wallpaper from rottencupcakes #iphone #lockscreen #wallpaper #color #freedownload

Mustard iPhone Wallpaper

Coral iPhone Wallpaper from rottencupcakes #iphone #lockscreen #wallpaper #color #freedownload

Coral iPhone Wallpaper

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Tonal Tuesday: never gave a damn about a hater

Jun 25 2013

Tonal Tuesday: never gave a damn about a hater #color #palette #scheme #coral #blush #pink #orange #bloodorange #yellow #sunshine #mint #green

Tonal Tuesday: never gave a damn about a hater

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Tonal Tuesday: gaudy gold trinkets

Jun 18 2013

Tonal Tuesday: gaudy gold trinkets #color #scheme #palette #green #olive #billards #asparagus #cream #mustard #rottencupcakes

Tonal Tuesday: gaudy gold trinkets

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Tonal Tuesday: pleased to meet you

Jun 11 2013

Tonal Tuesday: pleased to meet you #color #palette #scheme #teal #turquoise #peach #coral #mint #green #rottencupcakes

Tonal Tuesday: pleased to meet you

Modern and bright, such a perky set of colors.

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Tonal Tuesday: sweet, sweet music

Jun 04 2013

Tonal Tuesday: sweet, sweet music. #color #palette #scheme #orchid #lilac #fuchsia #teal #turquoise #robinseggblue #peach #palepink #balletslipper #rottencupcakes

Tonal Tuesday: sweet, sweet music

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