Friday, May 29, 2009

Crafting right along!

School's almost out and I'm so ready to be done. I want to sit and sew and get projects done instead of just getting them started. I have to get some notions for them before I can really hit the sewing hard, but that won't be difficult - rick rack and the like. Then I can crank them out.

I found this pattern on etsy and I'm trying to decide if I should get it and make a whole bunch of them for Laurel for her birthday - a little bee family. I think she'd like it, but I'm still debating it. Don't know why. I think it's so cute!

That's all for now. I can't wait to post pictures of my finished projects!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Some Weekend Plans

Headed to K-Town for the holiday weekend - we're going to play in the sunshine, so it better be ready for us.
I do have some crafty/baking plans in the works.
  • Going to test out the first cookie recipe - what better place to do that than at Gran's house?
  • Need to find a bit o' fabric - headed to Craft Warehouse to see what we see
  • Going through scraps for more doll clothes options - Laurel LOVES to dress up every animal (and she has a lot) in whatever doll clothes she has - I've got some sewing to do!

Nothing big. I've got a quiz - blech - in accounting on Tuesday, so I have to study some, but not much. And practice some French, but not much. Going to be a fun weekend!

Happy Memorial Day to all! Please, remember why it's a long weekend - it's not just for barbecues.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reporting in!

I think I did alright. Here's the final tally:

  • No sewing got done. I'm okay with this. It was sunny out, and we played outside. I did get a lot of cutting done in the morning and even did some on the back porch while the kids played.

  • I got all the cutting done - whole lotta bias stuff, which is a pain. I did have to go buy a new cutting ruler thingy. Sigh. I'll probably find my old one when we eventually move out of here.

  • We prepared Laurel's talk on Sunday morning - she "wrote" it herself - she told me what to write down and that's what she said. She was so great! Not shy at all and spoke up loud and clear. We did her hair in a "ballerina bun" with a big ol' pink flower. She looked adorable!

  • The Strawberry Shortcake Cookies were post-poned to tonight for FHE. So. Good. Really. When Martha finally posts the recipe on her website, I'll link it. Not too sweet and just delicious. Would be great with some vanilla ice cream.

  • The girl time sort of happened - we got to hang out together while the boys were napping. We've got big plans for when they go on the Father and Sons Camp-out in a few weeks - we're going out to dinner and doing girly things. I loved the Father and Sons when I was a kid - just me and mom!

I like this accountability thing - I'll do it again, when I've got a big ol' list of things to do. Oh, wait. I always have that. I'll do it again in a few weeks once school is out and I'm chaining myself to my sewing machine for a week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Weekend Project Plans

Tip for using Blogger: Don't EVER hit CTRL A (to highlight your text if you want to try to cut and paste it or whatever) because it deletes everything you just wrote. Very annoying.

Moving on. I'm going for accountability here by posting my plans for Saturday. Even if I only accomplish half if what I have planned, I'll be happy.
So here is my list:
  1. Find (or buy a new one) my clear quilt cutting guide thing-y that has been missing since Christmas. I need this for project 2.
  2. Cut binding, ties and straps for Emmeline aprons. By the way, check out the fabric swatches below from my latest find for this one - I've got to finish it by the Fourth of July. Not that I'll look very fetching in it. Let's just hope the skirt of the apron covers my big ol' belly by then!
  3. Finish sewing brown polka dot apron - the one that has been waiting for Aaron to remove the buttons and pins my boys thought were missing from the inner workings of my sewing machine.
  4. Cut the ties for the Christmas aprons I'm making.
  5. Have some girl time with Laurel. We're painting our toenails and going over to the mall and wandering around a bit - she needs it almost as much as I do.
  6. Work on Laurel's talk for Primary - this is not optional, although could wait until Sunday morning.
  7. Bake some cookies with the kids - this might also wait until Sunday. I found a recipe in my latest Martha Stewart Living for Strawberry Shortcake Cookies and we are so trying them out. I'd link it, but she doesn't have it up on her site. I'll post it later.

The binding, ties, and straps: Side one:

Side two:

Isn't that the cutest fabric you ever saw? I want to make shortcake and pies all the live long day!
I'll post again on Sunday and let you know how things turned out. Here's hoping I'm uber-productive. Right. Because husbands and children are so cooperative!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Aprons Anonymous

I feel compelled to start an apron support group. Something to help those of us who are a might bit too obsessed with accumulating these aprons. I said in an earlier post that I have about six more in the works. I think that was a lie. Okay, I know it was. Here's what's cookin' 'round here:

This one, the one on the far right, I'm making out of a really pretty light green with white flowers. Love it!
This one is being made in several color schemes. Christmas ones that are reversible and then a brown with white flowers that I'm trying to find a coordinating fabric for so I can make it reversible too.

Then there is the "Jane Austen" apron, as I call it. It's so Elizabeth Bennet, isn't it? I mean, if she were inclined to cook, she would wear something like this? Regardless, I love it. So much, in fact that I'm making, umm, well, the count is at four right now, but it could go higher depending on my latest fabric find.

So that is only seven, but then I have several cuts of fabric that haven't found the right pattern partner just yet. But I think the seven is a good start, right.
Some women collect shoes. I like these better.
If you would like to join my support group, feel free. It's quite fun, and doesn't hurt anyone (the bank account does not count!). It's bad though - I've already gotten Laurel started. She has four or five of her own. And she's getting more - every time she sees me cutting out a new one, she wants a new one. I can't say no. I'm helpless!
Oh, and pictures will come as I finish them. I promise. I won't be modeling them until I get my pre-baby bod back (or some form of it), but you can see the finished apron hanging up.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I did it!

Here's the Martha Stewart baking blog, if you're interested. Well, it's not dedicated to her, or about her. I'm just using her Cookies cookbook.
Join in if you want. I'll list you as a contributor if you post your e-mail.
Happy baking!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Baking Group

I've been thinking. I have lots of friends and family who love to bake. What I'd like to know is this: would anyone be interested in creating a baking group. Sort of like this one I found a long time ago. Maybe I'm bitter that I can't join that one. I do love Dorie Greenspan's baking book. It would be fun to bake our way through a baking book.
Here's my thoughts on how it could work:
  1. I'll set up a seperate blog.
  2. We choose a baking book. I have a bajillion suggestions!
  3. Tuesdays with Dorie does a recipe every week. We don't have to do every week - we could do every other week.
  4. We take turns choosing the recipe from the book. We bake it and post our thoughts, pictures, etc. on the day we choose.

Thoughts? This just appeals to me. We have a dessert group at church, but it's not very interesting to me. They just get together and eat desserts.

Here are some of the baking books that would be fun:

Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather - a Texas girl!

The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy

The Greyston Bakery Cookbook

Tartine by Elisabeth Pruiett

Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Martha Stewart's Cookies - if we wanted to just do cookies for now!

Baking: from my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Tell me what you think! I'm always looking for a reason to bake and I'd love to discuss recipes with people.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dulce de Leche Brownies

These were fabulous! Aaron was my quality control and he told me that there had better be some when he got home. He is a brownie purist, so this is saying a lot.
I made some modifications to the original recipe and I like them better. I also made a 13 X 9-inch pan instead of 8 X 8 - to make sure Aaron got his fair share.

Jennie's Dulce de Leche Brownies (adapted from David Lebovitz's recipe):
16 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
12 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 6 oz. 70% chocolate and 6 oz. 82% chocolate)
1/2 c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. toasted pecans
2 c. dulce de leche (I made my own with two cans of sweetened condensed milk)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 9 X 13-inch pan with foil and grease the foil.
Melt the butter and chocolate together. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, salt and flour. Mix in the nuts, if using.
Scrape half the batter into the prepared pan. Drop 1/2 of the dulce de leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining dulce de leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl it.
Bake for 35-45 minutes (mine took 40). The brownies are done when the center feels just slightly firm. Remove and cool completely.

For a crowd, the bigger pan is best, but for just my family, the smaller pan works just fine. These are super rich, so be sure you have lots of milk on hand. Enjoy!

Making the dulce:
This does take forever, but it's pretty inactive. Basically, you put your can o' sweetened condensed milk in a baking pan or pie plate, cover it with foil and place it inside a large pan. I put a small kitchen towel underneath it to stabilize it. Heat your oven to 425. Pour water into the larger pan so it comes halfway up the side of your dulce pan. Put it in the oven. Let it cook for about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. I set my timer for 30 minutes and would take it out and stir it - you want it gorgeously caramel-y colored. I originally read that it only takes 1 to 1 1/4 hours - this was not true for me. If you stir it every 30 minutes, you'll have a good idea of how long yours will take.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cinco de Mayo party!

Our apartment community is having a Cinco de Mayo celebration tomorrow night - means I don't have to fix dinner, so of course we're going! There will be a pinata for the kids and a burrito bar. All we have to bring is a dessert or salad. Well, like I'm taking a salad!
I found this recipe and am so excited about it. Dulce de Leche brownies. How perfect is that. I'm making my dulce de leche right now - takes forever, but so worth it. I cannot wait to taste these. Because I have to quality control them before we let anyone else eat them.
I think they need nuts though. Pecans for sure.

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