Sunday, December 27, 2009

My New BFF

Aaron read somewhere that a husband should never, ever, ever give kitchen appliances as gifts. Well, that person doesn't have me for a wife. And I *heart* kitchen appliances. Here's my latest - so very excited for this one:

Isn't she pretty? Now my slow cooker (we dubbed her "Big Sister" in honor of my Gran's nursemaid when she was little) has a little sister. What's not to love about a gorgeous little stainless steel fondue pot? Dipping things into cheese (or oil or broth or chocolate or caramel!) is right up my alley. I think my kids will like it too. I've officially dubbed Saturdays as fondue night. We're going to try this baby out.

More to post later on the goings on of Christmas. Working on a quilt top right now. Should be done by the end of the week.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Busy Girl!

Here's my to-do-before-Christmas list:
  • Sew dolls and doll clothes - for Laurel and for the little girl at church who's card we drew
  • Sew coloring wallets for kids, and one for little girl
  • Make doll blanket for little girl
  • Finish Laurel's doll sleeping bag
  • Bake - cookies and a coconut cake to enter in a holiday recipe contest
  • Study French - I always say this, then I always find something else to do
  • Wrap presents
  • Finish some aprons (can be finished after Christmas too)
  • Start my new quilt tops (can be finished after Christmas too)

How's that? I have a craft day on Saturday at the community center - just for moms, no kids! 4 hours of getting things done - hooray! I'm getting things cut out and ready to sew so that's all I have to do while I'm down there. I'll post pictures on Sunday of the finished products.

Oh, and one more thing. Take an adorable picture of my kids in their Von Trapp Family outfits. Super matchy matchy Christmas outfits. If I wear my new red coat, I match as well. And Aaron has a dark suit with a red tie that matches too. We might have to be in the picture as well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What I Think About . . .

I've stopped wondering what might fill my mind if things like lemon macarons with lemon curd didn't pop in there all the time. I've gotten the macaron bug (and yes, it is spelled macaron, I promise). I'm planning on making some for Christmas as goodies for friends. Chocolate ones.

But I thought, hey, wouldn't Lemon ones be tasty. Or vanilla with lemon curd.

See, all that brain power could be going to something else, but instead, I think about pastries.


Could be worse. The world might be a better place if people just thought about cookies. And ate them. With big tall glasses of milk.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Project

I bought the Love U fabric, ready to make that quilt from Moda Bake Shop. Come to find out what I thought was white was a little bit creamier than it looked online (the perils of online quilt shopping!). So I'm saving the white fabric for the same quilt, just pairing it with another project. I bought a second Love U jelly roll . . .
And I'll be making that quilt up top there, from this quilt along. Very, very simple. I'm loving it.

Apologies for this goofy post. It's late and I'm tired. The photo got deleted and I didn't want to redo the entire post. So the pictures are out of order. We'll all survive!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Love Checkin' The Mail . . .

. . . and finding this loveliness to distract me from my French studies. With the last of my spending money, I ordered the binding and backing for my Oh Cherry Oh! quilt (see earlier post) and then these four patterns to inspire me. I'm super excited for them.

Part of me wonders when I'll find the time to do any of this, but truthfully, I'm kinda hoping Aaron gets into BYU or ASU or one of the other schools we're applying to for law school/business school so that I'll just have to stay home and stop going to school. I'm kind of going right now because, well, I can. It's cheap and it's doable right now. Not so sure that will happen when we're dealing with a law school/business school schedule. Which means I get to stay home and do all the other things I want to do.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

'Tis The Season

Aaron continues to disagree with me, but I still say that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love a holiday about being grateful and delicious food. Such a winning combination. It's just going to be my little family with my parents this year but Mom and I are still making it all. Because the next best thing about Thanksgiving is the leftovers! Which is why I don't love getting invited to someone else's house that is not family - you don't have leftovers!

Here are my two favorite desserts that I'm going to try to make. Well, the lemon meringue tart is getting made. It's my fave - I made my first lemon meringue pie when I was 13. It was our first Thanksgiving in Kennewick and Gran helped me with it. I still associate lemon meringue pie with Gran.

It was that same Thanksgiving that Gran made a coconut cake. I didn't help make it, but I sure helped eat it. This was the beginning of my obsession with coconut cake as well. See, I'm a Southern girl at heart! I have a fabulous recipe for one and I'm making it, even if it means I'll be snacking on it for days. That's some good snacking, if you ask me.

Your turn - favorite Thanksgiving desserts?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Big Plans for Thanksgiving

I received a lovely gift from a very special person with strict instructions to spend it on myself. I have a tendency to buy things for the kids all the time, especially around this time of year with birthdays and Christmas.

I wanted to use the funds to create a memory something. So I bought fabric. First, I bought this:

in jelly roll and layer cake form (by the way, I love Moda's pre-cuts and their names). I'm going to make this quilt, found here:
Then I found this fabric.
For this quilt:
Online, free pattern found here. My goal is to get at least one quilt top done over the Thanksgiving weekend. And have the pieces cut for the other one. We'll be at me parents', so I'll have extra hands with the munchkins. I just might git 'er done!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


These are the butterflies for Laurel's birthday cupcakes. Instructions are found in this book. Not too difficult, although working with those candy melts in tricky. I don't think you can let them get too hot or they get grainy. I'd like to make them again and cover a cake with them - she has patterns in the book for large and small ones. Very pretty and very fun.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shhhh, don't tell!

Since I know Aaron never, ever reads my blog, I can share a little secret.

I've got plans. Big plans.

It's a long ways off, but if I can do this, it will be so awesome!

The plan: Aaron is in the middle of law school/business school applications right now and I got to thinking. We're going to need a serious vacation once he's done with all this. So, I'm starting my little savings right now so that after he graduates, I can surprise him with plane tickets and a week or so away with me! My goal is to save some money every month, $50 minimum. I'm thinking an Alaskan cruise - the only kind of cruise we're interested in. He could use the free time by then, I know.

So no blabbing to him. This is going to be awesome!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cake Results

Here it is, in all it's glory. Devil's Food Cake with a caramel sauce and chocolate ganache between the layers. Used the extra cake layer to make cake crumbs that I then toasted to coat the outside of the cake with. As I was about to build the cake, Aaron suggested I sprinkle Heath Bar bits on top of the ganache.
The results: good, very rich, but the Heath bar bits were a smidgen over the top. Drink a large glass of milk with this one. I do like the caramel layer though. Makes the cake more than just chocolate.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pancake Heaven

We love love love pancakes around here. Breakfast, dinner, whatever. Just plain ones - although I wish they'd let me be a smidge more adventurous and make my favorites - blueberry cornmeal! But I digress.

Last year, I discovered some Christmas pancake molds at Williams-Sonoma. A snowman, Santa and a reindeer. So much fun and the start of a new tradition. We got some hearts at Valentine's Day but haven't expanded the collection until now.

Jungle Pancakes - Lion, Monkey and Elephant
Halloween Pancakes - they just might have to endure pumpkin ones this time!

Bugs - no bumblebee though. Why on earth would a snail be a better idea than a bee? Crazy! I'm petitioning them to make some transportation ones - airplane, rocket ship and train. We'll see how far I get. If I end up with a train one, I know which one I'll be making for Will and James. All. The. Time.

We do enjoy the filled pancakes as well. Another post, another day. Mmmmm. Raspberry filled pancakes with Nutella sauce. For breakfast! Life can be wonderful at times.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hold Me Accountable

I spent a whole evening cruising through this blog. I love the quilts - got me all excited about making quilts. But I came away with more than that. I realized that this woman is so passionate about quilting and does it all the time. I mean All. The. Time. She makes upwards of 30 or so a year (I think I have that right). She chronicles her failures and challenges, but she has gotten better because she practices. Constantly. And fabric is expensive. Well, more expensive than cake ingredients.

So I officially have no more excuses. I WILL make this cake this week. I have everything I need to make it. There's nothing stopping me (well, four kids, but they won't exactly stop me from making a cake). Aaron takes the LSAT on Saturday morning, so that's reason enough to celebrate.

Miette is my inspiration. Love this cake. Tartine makes one just like it, but without the ribbon. Now, the ribbon is just me. This will be a devil's food cake with chocolate ganache. It might not be perfect, but I'm practicing again. It will still taste awesome.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I *Heart* Halloween

Fall is here - okay, not officially, but as far as I'm concerned, once we switch to September, fall is here. There have already been football games (so glad my Huskies finally won something!), I've heard the marching band rehearsing, school has started for the kids, I've bought pencils and now I'm getting excited for Halloween.

We've got the costumes figured out - we still have to make them, but they are at least figured out. We're going to do these goody bags for Laurel's school party, but we'll fill them with fun little toys from Oriental Trading Co. instead of candy.
And then there are all the decorating ideas from Martha Stewart:

And the Halloween treats, most from Country Living - I can't decide which one I like the best!

We'll be super busy this year - we're doing Henry's blessing on November 1st, so Aaron's parents will be in town as well as mine. We'll also be celebrating "the birthdays" as they are coming to be known - Laurel, Will and James. And Mark, Aaron's stepfather too! This will be one crazy weekend come the end of October! Which is why I've got Halloween and birthdays on the brain already. Never too early to start thinking about.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fearless Me

Things I'm afraid of:
  • Failure - oh, most definitely!
  • New ventures

Why am I admitting this? Because I'm daring myself to try something new, come January. I'd try sooner, but I'd like to adjust to all the other new things in my life before I move on to something else. Besides, I'm great at planning things! And I'll need to plan this.

The best way to achieve international stardom is to spend 10,000 hours honing your skills, says the new book by Malcolm Gladwell. The greatest athletes, entrepreneurs, musicians and scientists emerge only after spending at least three hours a day for a decade mastering their chosen field.

I don't necessarily want to achieve international stardom as a baker, but I do want to be exceptionally successful. Exceptional enough that I can have my little bakery and have loyal customers and love what I'm doing. So I need to start spending time with my cake pans and mixer. Three hours a day. That's a lot of baking. Well, I don't have to spend three hours every day baking, but three hours devoted to my field.

So, here's my little plan. I live in family housing. Lots of families. Which means lots of birthdays. I'd like to offer to bake cakes for anyone who wants them. Just for practice. I'd just print up a calendar and let people sign up for their cake day - and write in their favorite kind of cake. I want people to say that it's the best they've ever had. I'd stick with seasonal ingredients as best I can. I won't do character cakes for kids - that's not something I'm interested in doing in the future. I don't even do it for my own kids! I want to do cakes like Miette and Vanilla Bake Shop.

So, crazy idea? Good idea? I'll move on to other things, but for now, this is what I want to perfect. I can make decent cakes. I want to make spectacular cakes consistently, without thinking about it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Isn't She Gorgeous?

My guardian angel/aunt sent me this absolutely, positively gorgeous slow cooker. It's my early Christmas present and I'm SO grateful. Made this hormonal pregnant girl tear up. With almost 4 children, anything to make dinner easier is a blessing. And this is SUCH a blessing. I'm so glad we live in Seattle with overcast weather even in August. Now I get to play with it and try out recipes. What is so spectacular about this one is that you can take out the cast aluminum insert and brown your meat on the stovetop before you add the liquid and other ingredients. Better flavor!
Aunt Annette, you are invited over for Boeuf Bourgignonne and fresh bread!

Friday, August 7, 2009

One Project Down, A Billion to Go!

Mel's apron is done and it's so cute! I wish I had a model - sorry, I'm so not volunteering my pregnant self to model it. Wouldn't look nearly as cute as on someone with less of a belly! I love the colors and the fabric and this is one of my favorite patterns. I'll be sending it to this site for their, oh, quarterly, I think, apron photo blog. The theme is plaid this time around and I love this green plaid!

So, more to do, but then, I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have a billion projects in the works. Probably just find more projects.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Can She Get It All Done?

I am a deadline person - I like knowing when things are supposed to happen. Unfortunately, with babies, you don't get to. So I'm trying to get things done, not knowing when I'll have to stop and have a baby!

I found this diaper/wipe case on etsy - here - and I'm making one to match my new diaper bag.

The new diaper bag, but it's only going to be in one fabric, not three.
And a matchy-matchy changing mat to go with it all - another Etsy purchase here if you want one. I have to say, I do like the PDF patterns I can find there. So nice to get them within 24 hours.
Also on the list - I've got Mel's apron cut out and I'm going to try to get it sewn today and tomorrow. And I've got three of the four pillowcases/shams for Laurel's new room cut out - I'll get started on those soon. I still have some notion purchases to make, and I'm waiting on the fabric for the outer borders, but it's coming along. Her room is going to be so cute when we're done with it! This is one of those times where I'm glad I just have one girl - I can spoil her much easier this way.
Happy crafting day!

Monday, August 3, 2009

One More Apron

Note: This is not my apron. This is the pattern - from the book A is for Apron - I have made this apron twice for myself and now I'm making another, but this time, for my midwife Mel. She was over for our home visit last week and was admiring my wall o' aprons. She loves wearing bright colors and I think I found the perfect fabrics for her.
This solid pink will be the waistband, ties and neck strap.
This plaid will be one side of the apron . . .
And the butterflies will be the other side!

I might end up loving it so much I'll have to make another one. Heaven help us - I'm going to need a new wall! This is getting WAY out of hand, but it's a rather harmless little vice, wouldn't you think?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Yet ANOTHER project to add!

Gearing up to make one of these - the tutorial is here and I just love it - so adorable and fun. Of course, my Christmas colors are strictly red and white, but I'm determined to make it absolutely adorable. I mean, I've got nothing else going on these days, right? Might not get done until next Christmas, but it's going to happen!

Merry Christmas in July! Aaron's right, it is my favorite holiday. Well, Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TWD - Raspberry Blanc-Manger

Just posting that I didn't do it. Didn't appeal to me (sorry!) and I baked a banana upside-down cake yesterday anyway - by the way, SO good.
I'll be making Vanilla Ice Cream for next week, just to keep in the game.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More Fabric to Love

It seems I can't stay away from fabric these days - must be the nesting instinct or something. I found this and I've decided I have to have it for a quilt project I found here - with a different scene as a center square and then the coordinating colors around? So cute! I'll have to share it with Laurel, unless I make two . . . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Perfect Quilt

To say I'm in love with this quilt is the understatement of the year. I absolutely adore this idea of using the rick rack. I'm a bit of a rick rack junkie, so it's only natural, right? And the polka dots? So perfect! Oh, the tutorial is here - a new favorite site for me!
So what shall I do with this? I might do something with that Polly goes to Paris fabric for Laurel. I also am dreaming of a Christmas quilt using that Holiday Hostess fabric as the center squares. I bought more, thinking of making more bags and aprons, but this would be even better!
I love dreaming of new projects. And I'd love to make one of these in bright primary colors like the one in the picture. It's just a matter of finding the right fabric . . . .

TWD - Brioche Plum Tart

I tried, really I did. The brioche was fantastic too - easiest brioche dough to make. I couldn't find decent plums at the store, and instead of going with my first instict, cherries, I tried peaches. Organic peaches, but ones shipped in from California. They were just okay.
Next time, and there will be a next time, probably tomorrow, I will use cherries. In fact, I may head to the store tonight to get them. Oh, and make my dough tonight and let it rest overnight.
So watch for round two. It will be better, I promise!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sunday Cookies Blog

I just posted new recipe links for the next 4 weeks.

Here's the blog link:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tribute To Katherine Hepburn Brownies - TWD

I joined the "Tuesdays with Dorie" group a few weeks back, and I did attempt the Perfect Party Cake last week, but it was disastrous. Chalk that one up to being distracted or something. But I knew I could rock these brownies. I was only hesitant because I've had a favorite brownie recipe (read: Aaron's favorites) for 8 years now. I didn't think there was a better one out there. Boy, was I wrong!

It was chosen by Lisa from Surviving Oz - the recipe is here on her blog, along with a fun photo play-by-play. I did like how she put a whole pecan on top of each square - great idea!

These were chewy on the edges (I really need that brownie pan now) and chocolatey and nutty and I'm afraid I've already polished off more than my fair share. Aaron is at school and I'm feeling a smidge guilty that two corners are gone. Only a smidge though - these are worth it!

So pictured below are some of the brownies - between Will and I, they'll be gone in about 30 minutes, along with a gallon of milk. And they are sitting atop my new picnic blanket that I finished last week - another post will show all my sewing accomplishments so far - and new projects planned.

Katherine Hepburn's brownies were legendary, and these have become my new favorites. Now, I just need that brownie pan . . .

Saturday, June 27, 2009


On my list of things to do before Mr. Henry decides to arrive is complete a whole bunch of sewing projects. I've been a busy sewing bee this week, cranking out quite a few things (and dreaming up more - a not so good habit I can't seem to kick!). Here's what is finished this week -

Doll clothes for Laurel's dolls and animals - I want to get her a set of nesting suitcases like these so she can pack up all her doll clothes in them. I'm thinking the purple ones. She loves to dress all her animals up in outfits - doesn't matter to her if it's Will's sock monkey or James' teddy bear. They get clothes and hats and shoes too. I can't wait until she's old enough for an American Girl doll. In the meantime, I'm happily producing little outfits for her - I love that they are small enough I can use my scrap pile. Most of these are from scraps from a couple of aprons I just made.

Another apron for the bumble bee - this one is reversible and I just love it. I'm going to enter it at this site - they do quarterly apron themes and this one is for an apron and a pie recipe. So I'll photograph Laurel in this one with a lemon meringue pie - since this is the lemon meringue apron! She looks so sunshiney and bright in it - I love it! That photo will come soon.

A sleeping bag for Laurel's doll - she needed one of her own so she can go camping with us.

Perfecting the sticky bun recipe - these were too pretty to not photograph. The caramel was a tad too done but it made for a really pretty picture. The ones I made for Father's Day for Aaron were a disaster. You can't win for trying - I had put a cookie sheet underneath them in the oven so that the caramel wouldn't get on the bottom of the oven and burn. Well, that made the tops just doughy and icky. This time, I didn't put the cookie sheet, which meant we had burnt caramel and smoke, but they sure were tasty. I'll make another, hopefully final, perfect batch again this summer. I'm determined to get these perfect.

And I found this bag pattern and am making many versions of it - I even modified it so I can make a smaller version for Laurel - she loves to have a bag to take to church and in the car. This is the Christmas version. It's the perfect project bag size - carrying around knitting, crocheting, a book, etc. Even might make a decent diaper bag. No pockets, but then I don't like pockets all that much. Just get in the way.

As for the started but not finished projects, here's the list (off the top of my head):
  • Two quilt tops - just fun, snuggly ones to have handy - both in very bright colors
  • A picnic blanket - just needs some rick rack and I'll have it finished
  • Two aprons - adorable ones made from the same yellow/white fabric that I made Laurel's - this one is very frou frou and all I need is some very wide ribbon for the ties and they are done
  • Several other bags - so much fun and I really just need the interfacing on these ones
  • More doll clothes
  • Another doll sleeping bag - brown and pink
  • And I'm taking part in TWD now - so I'll be baking a Perfect Party Cake this week
  • And a 4th of July dessert on Saturday

I'm so glad summer is so busy and the time is going by so quickly. August will be here before you know it!

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