Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spooky Cupcakes

I spent last week in my home state of Idaho enjoying time with my family and the beautiful fall colors/weather. A few of those days were spent at the Quilt Taffy Craft Retreat in McCall. My mom and I had a great time together and I should probably be sharing pictures from that, but I didn't take any! So follow the link if you want to see all the fun things we did.
One evening we had a demo on cupcake decorating. We used this method to add chocolate shapes to our cupcakes. I thought it would be the perfect addition to the cupcakes I was planning to make for bake group this week. Here are my results.
The cupcakes are pumpkin with brown butter frosting and oh so yummy!

Friday, September 21, 2012

pump.kin day [puhm-kin-dey]

I've been thinking a lot about Autumn and Autumn baking (of course we are still experiencing 100+ degree weather, but my northern born inner clock tells me that Autumn is nigh). Of course that makes me think of delish dishes made from pumpkin- my fave. Which leads me to think about Pumpkin Day and my dearest friend Alyson. And then I realized I had never shared this tradition on this blog, so I'm re-posting the story from my private blog, for your reading pleasure.

(Originally posted 10/2008)

1. a day set aside for the making of all things from a usually large pulpy deep-yellow round fruit of the squash family: generally observed on the first Saturday in November, excepting that day be All Saints' Day in which observance is held on the second Saturday in November.
2. celebrated by roommates in aprons, who boil, puree, and bake pumpkin into edible delights.
3. commemorated by two women opening a can of pureed pumpkin, hastily throwing something together, before the baby wakes up.

I'd like to tell you a story about two college sophomores, for the sake of anonymity lets call the first one Alyson and the second Nancy. We will have to travel back in time... November 2003... Alyson and Nancy were roommates and had some time on their hands (or didn't have dates to the school dance). Alyson expressed an interest in baking something from an actual pumpkin. The girls foolishly assumed they would be able to find a pumpkin the weekend after Halloween. 4 stores later they acquired two small baking pumpkins. Add some internet recipe searching, whole nutmeg and a little determination and the seeds of Pumpkin Day were planted. That first Pumpkin Day was fraught with difficulties, but these two would not be deterred. They boiled, baked, steamed, microwaved, smashed, and pureed those pumpkins. They pounded the walnut sized nutmeg into powder... with a hammer (or was it a big rock?). Neither died from the horrible pumpkin soup. And the pie was good enough that their other roommates were willing to indulge.
For the next 3 years the tradition held despite boyfriends, marriages, and illness. In fact the only thing that seemed to deter pumpkin day was distance. But in the end that could only delay the inevitable for a year. From Arizona Nancy traveled to Missouri to Alyson's home to ensure that the tradition did not falter. Times had changed for these two friends and although they opened a can rather than a gourd and they had to take a break to feed a baby and only one dish was made instead of many, Pumpkin Day was once again celebrated!
Moral of the story, don't start such a tradition that is so much work with someone, unless you really like them, their husband, their child and their future children.
Here is what we made (and loved!) this year:

Pumpkin Brownies
Recipe adapted from The Recipe Girl

Pumpkin Batter:
1 tbs butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbs flour

Chocolate Batter:
5 1/2 oz semsweet-chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 sticks butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Prepare pumpkin batter: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, then add pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in flour.
Prepare chocolate batter: Combine semisweet chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Set bowl over saucepan with 1-inch of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, combine eggs with sugar and vanilla. Beat at low speed until light and fluffy- about 4 minutes. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in melted chocolate. Sift flour over the batter and fold it in just until combined.
Spread chocolate batter evenly in prepared pan. Using the back of a butter knife, swirl the pumpkin batter slightly into the chocolate.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Trio of Minis

Finally after all these ages I actually have something to post. Well, that is a misrepresentation, because I've been making stuff, I just haven't actually gotten around to taking pictures and posting about them. Case in point- these minis have been done for at least a month and I only just took pictures of them.
Minis are fun- give you a chance to try out different techniques, work with scraps and they are done so quick! The first one is made from all the Harmonies fabric I had left over from the shower curtain I made a few years ago. It measures 22 inches square and is listed in the shop.
The second I made with the scraps from Kennedy's crib quilt that my mom made. They were all triangles and I enjoyed trying out a new technique- a chevron design from triangles. Although I have to admit that I don't love piecing triangles and probably wouldn't do it again. It measures 20 inches square and Kennedy has claimed it for her doll/stuffed animals.
Last but not least is this little selvage quilt. I really love creating blocks from selvages and these were so quick and easy. Each square of selvages was 4 1/2 inches. I also did something different with the quilting- straight horizontal and vertical lines grouped together. I love how it turned out. This one measures 22 x 26 inches and is listed in the shop.
I backed all of them with a sheet, it is Roxy brand and thick but still silky smooth. Oh, and one more new technique- I experimented with sewing the binding down by machine, at first it did not go very well, but by the third one I started to get the hang of it.
So, hooray for quick little finishes and trying new stuff!

Monday, May 14, 2012


 I wasn't sure I would ever be able to write this post. This quilt was quite nearly my undoing. Everything went fine until 3/4 of the quilting was finished and I discovered the most horrendous puckers! And at that point it was either unpick all my quilting, splice, or discard. It threw me into a complete sewing funk. So I tossed it in a corner and ignored it for about six months. Then my mom stepped in and helped me figure out the issues, and voila a finished Fandango quilt.
 My favorite part of this quilt is the quilting through the patchwork. Actually I made this quilt specifically for the quilting. I love how quilting in the negative space makes the colored blocks pop.
And the back, which was fun!
Hooray for another one crossed off the list.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Covered Button Ring Tutorial

 I've made a few of these rings but hadn't thought of posting about them on the blog, until a friend suggested it. So I thought I'd put together a little tutorial of how I make them.

What you'll need-

ring blank with a flat pad (I got mine here)
cover button kit (I used 3/4" for the yellow, green & blue, 1" for the elephant; I get mine at JoAnn's)
scrap of fabric
hot glue gun & glue
 Start with one uncovered button and back.
 Remove the metal loop on the back. I do this by wiggling and moving it around until it slips out, you could also use needle nose pliers.
 Cut a circle of fabric the size indicated on the cover button box- if you have an image be sure to center it in the circle.
 Then create the button (if you haven't done this before, the box that the cover buttons come in has good instructions). As you do this be careful to keep your image centered- which is more difficult than you'd think- as you can see, my elephant isn't perfect, but I've had worse.
 Now grab your ring blank and heated hot glue gun. I squeeze enough glue into the back of the button to fill it, but not overflow. Then press the ring blank pad into the hot glue and hold until cooled.
 There, you have a darling custom make ring.
Now, go forth and make 1... or 4!
Obviously I'm not a hand model, but I wanted to include this picture for perspective on the size of the button.

Friday, April 27, 2012

For Next Year

I know that Easter has past, but I just had to share this cute garland I finished, based on this pattern. I had a great time using up little scraps/selvages and arranging them to create these darling spring time shapes. I used Osnaburg linen for the back ground.
 I'm pretty partial to this little bunny. Especially that little white dot of a tail and wee little bow. 

I also love the carrot, such a fun little shape and color combinations!
The egg was the simplest to make. I added a bit of trim to the bottom of each piece and some ribbon to hang them. Not sure I love the ribbon, it's a bit on the bright side, but oh well.
And finally a little chick. Stitching around the shapes and border went really quick and was fun, I think it helped that I didn't worry too much about the stitches being perfect.
So, Happy Easter (next year)!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter {Basket}

Whipped up this darling Easter basket, from a paper grocery sack, with the help of this tutorial. I made mine bigger than the tutorial (8x8 bottom and 4 strips around the sides) to fit a few more eggs.

An action shot.

Mostly she just wanted to eat the candy.

Hope you all had a Happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ruffly Table Runner & Fabric Eggs

Remember when I won this awesome prize? Well I finally finished my table runner. Actually I had the table runner done that first weekend after I got my fabric, but I wanted to add some trim to finish it off, and then family came into town, things got busy and only just had the to finish it yesterday.
Close up on the trim. I love how it turned out and love how it looks on my dresser (I'm hoping it will help motivate me to keep my dresser clean- we'll see). If you want to make one here is the tutorial. I only did a couple things different- for the ruffles, instead of folding the fabric in half I hemmed the edge, my machine just couldn't handle the bulk of ruffling the fabric double layered. And I added the trim.

This tutorial for fabric eggs has been on my to-do list for ages, and I can't figure out why I waited so long to make them. They weren't hard and came together pretty quickly (except that I didn't have any fiber-fil, not having all my supplies seems to be a reoccurring theme for me).

I think they are cute, but I can't decide if they look like eggs. What do you think? If I make more I think it would be cool to make them monochromatic, but still scrappy, ie. 4 different green fabrics for one egg.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Paper Piecing #1

Here is my first attempt at paper piecing, and I'm moderately pleased with the outcome. I used this tutorial. Things that I have learned about paper piecing:
-Using scraps is great, just make sure that your scrap more than covers the shape.
-Before beginning ensure that you have enough of your background fabric.
-Regular printer paper works just fine.
-It's an addicting process!
Not perfect, but not bad for my first try. I can't wait to do more, I'm just not sure what I will do with the finished blocks. Maybe nothing. Oh and if I do another one with this pattern I think it would be really fun to do the triangles in white and the back ground piecing scrappy- sort of crazy quilt like.

Friday, March 9, 2012


A lovely package was delivered to my door this morning, loaded with sewing lovelies. My friend Erin recently co-launched a creative blog, PurdueAvenue. And a couple weeks ago they had a giveaway, and well, I won!

The prize included everything to make a darling ruffled table runner (tutorial here)- canvas and muslin fabric, thread, pins, a measuring tape and...

a ruffler foot! I didn't even know that such a thing existed! I'm pretty excited and want to ruffling everything!

First up on my ruffling check list is a replica of this table runner. Head over and check out the fabulous things on PurdueAvenue.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Getting My Selvage Fix

My box of selvages was overflowing so I sat down and busted out a stack of spider web blocks. These blocks are the epitome of my selvage obsession. This project has been going on for 2 years now, and I've only made half the blocks I want to eventually make!

It's intense sewing, just ask my back- completely destroyed (at least for the next couple of days). Oodles of selvages, small seams, trimming and paper ripping.

When all those triangles come together they create fabulous spiderwebs. Very visually interesting if you ask me.

Eventually I hope to have enough to make a queen size quilt for my guest room. But I'm estimating that is still another 2 years away, and when I finish the blocks I'll still have to sew them all together and get it quilted, because I really don't want to quilt this myself.

All told I figure it will be a 5 year project, and I'm ok with that because it is an enjoyable diversion to pull out in between other projects. And a good selvage fix.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Been Awhile

I'll blame it on mojo, or the lack there of. I was really motivated and worked long and hard on two projects and they both were complete disasters. Which really put a damper on my crafting mood. Instead I've been doing a big of reading, which was entertaining as I avoided and eventually eased my way back into the sewing room.
First items on the docket was a baby gift set for a lovely friend of mine. Her little one is due to arrive in just a few days and I wanted to be certain that these were done in time.
This bib was a lot of work, but I loved doing it. The ironic thing is I pieced those zig-zags and then a few days later bought fabric that looks almost exactly the same! But I won't call it wasted time, just an exercise in micro-piecing.
I used burp rags more than anything else when Kennedy was born and recently I found this pattern and I really wanted to try it out. I love that it is contoured. Both burp rags and bib are back in white flannel.
Oh, and I'm in love with these little elephants, they are so adorable.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Heart Garland

(inpiration; darn that string hanging in the foreground)
I made myself a Valentine's decoration (perhaps my first ever or at least since Elementary School). I found a copy of Pride and Prejudice that was in pretty poor shape, which was the only way I could justify cutting up a book (I'm still feeling a bit like I need to go wash my hands/mouth out/conscience clean) and cut out a load of hearts. Then I layered them in 3's and sewed them all together.

After they were all sewn together I creased the the hearts along the seam for a little dimension and that was it! Fun and simple. So while I was at it I listed one into the Etsy shop too. Maybe you'd like one too, after all it is 100 feet of Jane Austen love.

Dear Ms Austen- please don't be upset that I cut up your book, I promise it was for a real good cause. Don't think of it as destrying think of it as upcycling!