Sunday, December 20, 2009

Whoville Ward Christmas Party

My husband and I were in charge of the Christmas Party at our church. It is quite an undertaking (especially without a committee). Luckily I had some great people in the kitchen and a wonderful person doing a program. The Elders Quorom put on "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". The script had been altered to fit our area and the church. It was a hoot! Then we had a couple of musical numbers. The meal was sooo yummy, too. We heard many rave reviews for the next couple of weeks. I took my camera and went to take pictures, only to find I had no SD card in my camera!I took a pic of some of the decorations I made, before hand. I made all the decorations by hand by myself (never again!). I made several wreaths and swags (for the tables) in the same style. I got the idea from The Red Thread. All the bulbs on the wreaths were hand painted. The plan was to hand paint all of the bulbs (for the swags), but I ran out of time and energy. I also made paper snowflakes and we strung lights across the ceiling. I was happy with how everything looked and everyone had a good time.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Easy Fall Treat



November is really here, now! Most of you are probably coming off of a sugar high, so a sweet treat may not be something your craving. Maybe in a week or two? I was thinking they might be a good addition to Thanksgiving, but they would be good anytime :)

These are Ginger & Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches, that Sandra Lee would be proud of.
You need 3 ingredients; Anna's Ginger Thins, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, & Chocolate Jimmies. The Ginger Thins are perfect for ice cream sandwiches, because they are thin and almost graham cracker like...which helps the cookie to absorb the moisture from the ice cream making the cookies soften slightly. It is very reminiscent of a classic ice cream sandwich, but with a flavor twist!
-Start by allowing the ice cream to soften. If it is too hard it will break the cookies. If it is too soft, then you will have a mess and the majority of the ice cream will end up outside of the cookies.
-Next, take a Ginger Thin and plop a big scoop of ice cream in the middle of the cookie.
-Top it with another cookie and lightly press down until the ice cream hits the edges.
-Roll in chocolate jimmies or any crunchy topping of your choice.
-Cover and freeze overnight.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vote for Chicken Ka-Ching!

Well, I decided to enter a favorite recipe of mine into the French's Cook-off 2009. I've been waiting for an e-mail to say that my recipe had been accepted and somehow I overlooked it! However, they haven't approved my picture yet. So let me give you two reasons to



The great thing is that I don't think you have to register to vote! If you would be so kind and follow this link: http://www.frenchs.com/Contest/recipe/chicken-kaching-1885.html
and press the 'VOTE NOW' button on the left, I would greatly appreciate it. I've included the recipe on this post, because the French's site didn't post my recipe in the same format it was written. Please enjoy!

CHICKEN KA-CHING!

3 tbsp FRENCH'S® Classic Yellow® Mustard

1.5 tbsp Agave Nectar (or honey)

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Onion Powder

1 lb (or 6 pieces) Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Tenders

3 oz (3 slices) Ham Lunch Meat Slices (found in rectangular package)

1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1 tsp Steak Seasoning (I use Kirkland Signature Brand)

- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a glass baking dish lined with tin foil.
- In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, agave, paprika & onion powder.
- Cut each slice of ham into four equal pieces (lengthwise). You should have twelve pieces of ham, when finished.
- Next, pound the chicken to 1/4 inch thickness. Slice each tender in half (lengthwise). You should have twelve pieces of chicken, when finished.
- Take one piece of chicken and spread approximately 1/2 tsp. of the mustard mixture across the entire piece. Then add a piece of ham on top of that, followed by approximately 1 TBSP. mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top of the ham from one end to the other.
- Proceed by rolling up the chicken, starting at the larger end. Place a toothpick in the end, to hold the roll together during baking. When rolling up the chicken, cheese will fall to the side. Use that cheese on top of the roll.
- Set the finished rolls into a prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with Steak Seasoning.
- Bake covered for 15-20 minutes. You will know the chicken is done, once it has turned white and the cheese has melted. Remove the cover and broil on high until the cheese bubbles.

**You can remove the toothpicks when finished baking. I usually leave them in, because it makes them easy to pick up and eat!**

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My First Baking Contest!

This past Saturday, I entered and won my first Baking Contest. It was a fun experience. I made a Vanilla Bean Butter Cake with a Lemon Curd & Blackberry filling and topped with Vanilla Bean Buttercream. I made everything myself, including the gumpaste decorations. I could have easily covered the cake in fondant, but I decided to challenge myself and finished it with buttercream.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review: Crepe Paper Rose Kit (ala Martha)

Yesterday, I saw the Martha Stewart Crepe Paper Rose Kit in the store on clearance. I have to admit that it is the only time I would buy a kit from her brand, because they are over priced and you can get the instructions online for free. The price I paid would probably cover the cost of the materials, so I decided to try the kit out.

I was optimistic at first, because it was relatively easy and looked like it would turn out. Enter floral tape. This is the option for attaching the petals. I understand that when you stretch floral tape, it gets sticky. So I thought it might work. It didn't. The kit came with a little bottle of glue, which seemed to be nice and I tried using it to assist in attaching the petals. That definitely didn't work. The glue was very watery and made the paper saturated without any sticking power. I finally got all the petals put together with the floral tape...at least enough to take a picture. It easily fell apart with little handling.

So the Pros- bright & high quality crepe paper, templates & Cons- watered down glue, poor assembly. I will make more soon, but use a hot glue gun next time :) It is totally worth the clearance price, but I would not pay the full price (around $10).

Over at one of my fav blogs, The Glittered Nest, you can find some beautiful crepe paper rose corsages! I love the addition of stamens. She is so creative...why can't she be my neighbor?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mama's Bacon Smokies

Look fast, because these little guys disappear quickly! My mom has been making these for years and years. I have no idea where she got the recipe, but they are super easy. They make great party food.

Take a 1lb. package of bacon and cut the slices into thirds. Next, you'll need a 1lb. package of Little Smokies & some toothpicks. Wrap one piece of bacon around each little smokie and insert a toothpick to hold it together. Place the little bacon smokie (seam side down) on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Once all smokies are on the cookie sheet, then sprinkle with a good amount of brown sugar (approx. 1/2 cup). Make sure you sprinkle on the tops of the bacon and let some fall to the tray. Bake @ 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The brown sugar with caramelize on the bacon and make it delicious!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New Photo Props


I'm starting to take a lot more portraits lately. Last month I took some adorable pictures of a young woman from church. She was so sweet and it was a lot of fun. This week, I have some seniors lined up :) I can hardly sleep at nights thinking about it! I have a lot of ideas for locations and props...some that I have, some that I need and some that I have that need a little work.

Today, I set out to find an umbrella....you know the classic "Singin' in the Rain" kind? I feel like I hit the jack pot today! I went to a huge rummage sale and found exactly what I was looking for. To top it off, it was a beautiful, bright red. I also found a little vintage point and shoot. It is a Kodak Magimatic, circa 1970. I think it is adorable and just had to snag some pics of my new found treasures.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Quick & Easy Roasted Corn

One of our favorite foods at the fair is Roasted Corn...anyone else? It is easy to replicate at home if you fire up the grill. If that isn't an option...like your new grill is still packed in its box waiting to be assembled...well there's no need to fret. Just stick the ears of corn (on some tinfoil) in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes and bam! you've got some tasty corn on the cob. It is a quick & easy addition to any meal lunch or dinner. Plus there is no shucking/big mess before hand. The husks peal right off after being roasted. Then you can slather with butter & spices of choice.





P.S. It was delicious.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Strawberita!


All sorts of new flavor combos this week. Last week, I was looking at a Paula Deen magazine while visiting my mom and found a couple recipes I wanted to try. I actually made these cupcakes on Sunday. Originally, they were suppose to be Simply Delicious Strawberry (cup)Cakes, but I didn't have strawberry gelatin on hand. So I had to make a change and go with lime gelatin...like a strawberry margarita (w/o any alcohol). I wasn't 100% happy with how they turned out. The frosting was runnier than usual, because of the strawberry puree. Everyone that tried them liked them, but I don't think they looooved them. They are definitely different and I think I would be more of a lover of the flavors (if I could eat them). Lime is a favorite of mine. So if you have an itch for a Strawberita!, then here is the recipe (very slightly modified from the original)-

Ingredients:
1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
1 (3-ounce) box lime-flavored instant gelatin
1 (15-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (10-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
7 cups confectioners’ sugar


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

For the frosting:
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the vanilla extract. (The rest of the puree is leftover but can be used in smoothies or on ice cream for a delicious treat.) Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Zucchini Meets Coconut

Not much crafting going on around here, at the moment. We are doing some remodeling in the new house and that includes ripping out the carpet in my art studio and giving it my personal touch. Now that summer is almost over (sad), I'll have more time to focus on getting my studio done. For now, another creation from my kitchen. My husband wanted zucchini bread and of course I had to make it slightly different than the traditional zucchini bread. He wasn't too sure about having coconut united with zucchini, even though he liked both separately, but ended up really liking it!

Zucchini Coconut Bread

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded coconut
2 cups raw unpeeled grated zucchini
Directions:
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Grease & flour 2 loaf pans. Mix oil and sugars together, add eggs, mix, add coconut & zucchini, mix, add rest of ingredients, & mix.
-Pour batter into both pans, evenly.
-Bake for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes (depending on pan size). I like to test with a toothpick in the middle of the loaf or by touch. The toothpick should be inserted and removed with crumbs stuck to the toothpick (if it comes out clean then it is over done). Or if you don't have a toothpick, lightly touch the top of the middle of the loaf. It should be soft, but not wet or firm (please be careful not to burn yourself!).
-Lastly, remove the loafs from the oven and let them sit for about 5 minutes. Flip the pan over (use oven mitts), remove the loaf, stick into a plastic grocery bag and then tie a knot. Let the loafs cool in their own plastic bags. It seems to lock in the moisture. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WiLd?

Can you believe these are wild flowers around here? We first spotted these Sweet Peas on an afternoon walk around the neighborhood. There was hundreds of the delicate blooms cozied up on the side of the road.

Just yesterday, while we were on a bike ride, we saw a lot more lining a trail on the outskirts of town. Both places were unkept and the Sweet Peas seemed to take over. It is rather beautiful and I only wish I could pick them all!

I was thinking they would look nice in this and then given to a friend or neighbor as a nice gesture. They would definitely brighten my day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yummy Hummus

RECIPE COMING SOON!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Need a healthy, crunchy snack?

I was reading 'Self" magazine last month and came across a recipe for Roasted Chickpeas by Zooey Daschanel. From looking at the recipe, I knew I would want more cumin. So I doubled the cumin and added some Lavender Pepper. I must admit that it needed even more spice. I will make them again and triple or quadruple the cumin. If you like things a little more mild, then I would stick to doubling the cumin.

Chickpeas a.k.a. Garbanzos beans "are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, garbanzos' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, garbanzos provide virtually fat-free high quality protein. But this is far from all garbanzos have to offer. Garbanzos are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like delicatessen salads and salad bars. Persons who are sensitive to sulfites in these foods may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation if sulfites are unwittingly consumed. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them (courtesy of http://www.whfoods.com)".

Friday, August 21, 2009

Savory Lavender

The Annual Lavender Festival has come and gone. We had just moved into our house when the festival weekend was right around the corner, but we were able to enjoy some of it with family. We visited Cedar Brook Lavender Farm, where we found the most amazing pepper blend...Lavender Pepper.

Normally, I don't think I would even be attracted to using Lavender in cooking. I think I just looked at it as being too perfumy and not appetizing. My opinion changed after smelling the Lavender Pepper. The Lavender is strong enough to smell, but has a subtle taste when blended with all the other spices.

My husband likes it on almost anything savory. I've used it on chicken, potatoes, noodles, vegetables...in place of pepper. It is the perfect blend for us! It is only 6.99 for a 2.4 oz jar, a little bit goes a long way (especially with freshly ground herbs and spices) and can be purchased online.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Playing Catch-up

New house (hooray) ...no internet (boooo) ...until now (hooray)!

Coming soon...Lavender Festival post.

TTFN,
Jess

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gramma Bell's Cookies

I've been blessed with two wonderful Gramma's. One I've lived closed to most of my life and the other one a little farther away in beautiful Wyoming. The one I've lived close to passed away this past Christmas. It was her favorite season and she always knew how to make it special. For forty years she made hundreds of chocolates to box up for Christmas presents for friends, family, doctors, etc. I was fortunate enough to learn her craft before she was unable to make them anymore (that will be another post). Another holiday memory and favorite was her sugar cookies. When I was younger and lived further away, she would always send my family a box of goodies every holiday. The staple (& most coveted) goodie would be the sugar cookies. They were thick and soft and delicious (frosted or plain)!

Naturally, it is the only sugar cookie recipe I have ever used. They are gobbled up every time I make them. Even though I can't eat them anymore (because of the wheat), I still enjoy making them. It always makes me happy when I make them and it makes me feel like my gramma is there (who I miss dearly). She was always willing to share her recipes and I thought that I would give tribute to my gramma by sharing her recipe on my blog. Hopefully it will bring you a bit of happiness, too :) She named the cookies "Holidays".

Gramma Bell's Holidays

1 c. butter/margarine

2/3 c. sugar

1 egg

1 tsp almond extract

2 1/2 c. sifted flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and almond extract. Sift together flour and baking powder. Stir into butter mixture and mix well. Roll out on lightly floured board (counter) and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly brown.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Easy Bolero/ Shrug



One of my little sisters had her 8th grade dance this past week. Apparently it has evolved over the years and turned into a formal event, unlike the one I attended. Finding a modest formal dress, outside of the state of Utah, is a tough thing. I was shocked at some of the dresses I saw when picking her up from the dance.

Well, I had a lovely Anne Klien dress and it fit her like a glove (maybe some day I'll be able to wear it again...darn thyroid). Of course it needed a bolero or shrug, so my mom and sister spent some time looking for one...with no success. I decided to look online and it paid off. I found a super easy pattern on Modest Prom. There are three options and we chose the cap sleeve shrug. It is made with stretch fabric (ours was glittery and a soft gold color). You have to scale the pattern to the size you want. I knew that we wanted it to be a bit more snug, so I didn't scale it to full size. My mom and I decided it needed to be lined, because the fabric rolls a bit around the collar, but it still only took 5/8 yard. This fabric was on clearance and clearance was 50% off, so we made it for $2!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trim Gift Tags


How cute are these?! Doe-c-doe took vintage trims, scanned them, replaced some of the words and made them available for download! Very clever, if you ask me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tin Can Flower Vase

How sweet and simple is this Tin Can Flower Vase?! I saw this tutorial over at Elle's Studio. I like how the ribbon laces up like a corset and a little bow to finish it off in back.

I know in the summer time I have flowers blooming like crazy! Of course I share them, but I don't usually have a container to go with them. This is a great solution.

You could also make some tissue paper flowers, if fresh flowers aren't available. Since we are moving soon, I probably won't have many fresh flowers until next year :( Oh well!

Anyway, check out this cute tutorial and while you are there, you might as well check out this one too!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On The Menu...

The fab Bakerella has created yet another amazing treat. This time for Father's Day. I'm kinda glad that I was a week early in planning for Father's Day or I would have missed out on making this:
It's a chocolate brownie patty nestled between two cupcake buns and frosting condiments. Complete with sugar cookie fries! AND the templates for the paper goods are included...how awesome is that?!? I *heart* Bakerella.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cookie Turned Cupcake

SNICKERDOODLE

CUPCAKE!

One of my favorite cookies is Snickerdoodle, so when I saw this cookie turned cupcake (via Martha Stewart) I had to try it! I didn't use her recipe, though. I used a Betty Crocker SuperMoist Butter Recipe Yellow cake mix and added 3/4 Tbls. Cinnamon & 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg. I was thinking about adding some Cream of Tartar (like in the cookie), but I wasn't sure how that would effect the baking. I might try it sometime. I made a basic buttercream to pipe in a swirly fashion and sprinkled some Cinnamon on top.

The cupcakes were made with a purpose...Father's Day. The only problem was that I was a week early! I have a large whiteboard in my kitchen and had marked Father's Day on June 14th. Oh well! The cupcakes were well received. I had a little visitor while trying to take pictures.


He is quite keen on when something scrumptious is going down in the kitchen. This time I caught him sneaking in! Some how he still managed to devour a cupcake and left his mark behind...or evidence.


**I can't wait for Betty Crocker's Gluten Free Mixes! Then I can actually eat the cupcakes!**

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A New W.I.P.

Flowers and Cakes seem to be my main focus on the blog! I just can't help myself. I could easily blame it on my blog reader for these little pretties.

Juicy Bits, a fellow Jess that is a crafter/designer, posted pics of the flowers she had been working on and a link to the free pattern. The day I read it, I picked up my crochet needle and some scrap yarn to try it out. Success! The next morning I was out buying some yarn. After crocheting 9 flowers in a day (they go pretty fast), I thought it would be cool to try and make a really big flower for a pillow. It takes a bit more time, but I would say that I am about half-way there. I was thinking they will make a nice addition to my studio in the new house. I think they are a good gift idea, too!

Monday, May 25, 2009

More Cakes!

Three of our four parents had birthdays this month. I decided (two days before our trip) that I would make bday cakes for all three. My in laws have a passion for hiking and since their birthdays are only two days apart, I did one cake for both of them.

It was a labor of love, because a lot of the elements were not working the way I had planned. I should have given myself a little more time. I used Marshmallow Fondant, but I wouldn't recommend it for figurines. I thought I had learned my lesson on the last cake. Next time I will get some gum paste. I also didn't get a chance to make their dog that would have been sitting on the top of the hill :( There is always next time :)

I used white MM Fondant and then painted everything else with gel food coloring (diluted in almond extract). I used cocoa powder for the path and rocks. The inside ended up being three different flavors (butter yellow, dark chocolate, plus those two mixed together)! I'd planned on two flavors, but needed more cake, so I used some from my mom's cake. Everyone liked it, so I was happy.


My mom's cake was something a little different. I knew she liked nonpareils (the little round sprinkles). I also wanted to do something without fondant. I had these beautiful scalloped edged baking pans that were calling my name. I baked two tiers of a butter chocolate cake. Once they were cooled, I filled them with almond buttercream.

For the decorating, I used a tub of store bought chocolate frosting to cover the cake. The technique was a pourable frosting that I've used for petit fours, but never for a full cake. I melted the frosting in the microwave and added a tiny bit of shortening, because it was a little too thick (after melted). The consistency should be runny. Make sure your cake is on a wire rack with wax paper or cookie sheet underneath. Next, I poured about half of the frosting over the center of the top tierand let it run down the sides. Then where ever the frosting hadn't reached I added more by using a large spoon and pouring over that area.

I waited about an hour before adding any decorations. It will all depend on the temperature of your kitchen and how quickly the frosting sets up. If you add decor too quickly, it may not be in the same place by the time the frosting has set. I used multicolored nonpareils for the tops of each tier. Then I used small chunks of white chocolate around each tier. For the 'T' on top, I drew the shape I wanted on a piece of paper and slid it under a piece of wax paper. I piped melted white chocolate around the shape and filled it in (make sure it is thick). Finally, I added white nonpareils and let it harden. In my mind, I would have loved to do a tutorial for something like this. I might do it on a smaller scale with petit fours...after we move!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Organza Flowers

Simple. Chic. Addicting! I wish I would have been on the ball when it came to showing everyone how to make these. We are getting ready to move...again. This time into a house of our own. We've been in a rental for the past year and I am sooo ready to be back in a place of our own. I'm really grateful we are able to keep our home in AZ rented until the market gets better.

Anyway, there is a tutorial on these pretty organza flowers. I've seen them all over Etsy. I'm experimenting with other fabrics with synthetics and also different petal shapes. Try them! I'm sure you will love them, too!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day!


These beautiful, little cherry blossoms are popping up everywhere in our yard. I absolutely love them and they are a sure sign of Spring! Winter lasted way too long here in Washington. I like the Arizona winters much better, but you can't beat the scenery here.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cake Fit for a Farewell

My youngest brother has set off to serve a two year, LDS mission in Phoenix, AZ. For his farewell party/open house, I decided to make him a cake. I started off making an Almond Butter Cake. I used a recipe from Elisa Strauss' book, 'The Confetti Cakes Cookbook'. It was the recipe for Vanilla Cake, but I changed the flavoring. It turned out well with a balanced texture. I will probably use it as my staple basic cake. I made a butter cream, adding some of my mom's raspberry jam. Next I printed an outline of Arizona and used it as a template for shaping the cake. I ended up with two layers and used the butter cream as the filling and for the crumb coat.

Something I've found useful is using a piece of cardboard under the cake. When the cake is finished, then I will either trim down the cardboard (so it isn't visible) or lift the cake off (doesn't work for larger cakes).

I decided to make a white chocolate marshmallow fondant. I usually make marshmallow fondant, because it is so yummy! I wanted to try something new, but next time I'll save the new stuff for practice. The white chocolate fondant was a lot harder to work with and I didn't like the taste.

I did a lot of marbling with the colors. I also dusted some cocoa powder in areas to make the state look more rustic. My mom helped me come up with idea of putting the fondant version of my bro relaxing on his back. I added a little lizard popping over his shoulder, along with some scriptures and two cactus'.

The final step was to draw on the faces, tie and tag. I used some edible writers, but they were low on color and didn't produce the result I was looking for. I wish I would have done them in fondant or hand painted...live and learn. I had a fun time making it and my little brother was thrilled.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Purse Cake #2

This is another purse cake, but this time I made with my littlest sister for my other sister's 14th b-day. I made a triple chocolate cake with a vanilla butter cream. My family really liked it...of course I can't eat it because it had wheat...but it looked delish!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bravo, Martha!

It is no secret...I'm a big fan of Martha. I like that people refer to me as 'Martha'. I'm sure there are many that get the same praise from friends. I just seem to get it where ever I go. While on our last out of town trip, we visited Costco and I found this treasure:

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts: An A-to-Z Guide with Detailed Instructions and Endless Inspiration. It was love at first sight! The book is filled with techniques galore! I could see myself doing every project and using the book often. It should be a staple to any crafter or aspiring crafter. One of my favorite sections:


Okay, so I had like 10 favorite sections!! There are a couple sections on making flowers (air-dry, fabric, beaded, crepe & tissue paper). Ever heard of sun printing? Well that's in there too. Also, at the end of the book for 'XYZ' is a tools and materials guide followed by templates for some of the projects. The book is fairly new, so Amazon has a good price tag (just a few dollars more than Costco).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Applique: Not Just for Kids


I think appliqued shirts for little ones are pretty darn cute. The only thing is I haven't seen many appliqued shirts for adults (that looked fashionable). When I received my fabric order, I wanted to use the pink & green faux Alligator for a shirt. I'd also purchased a long sleeve white tee from Target for like a buck! So, it didn't take long to decide on applique.

I sketched out a design and got to work. I used my Cricut for the letters and made a free hand heart (lopsided on purpose). The 'S' is for my husband first name and the 'J' is for my first name. Of course, it is only natural for me to add a little bling. It kind of looks like metal in the pic, but they are really little clear gems.

It was easy, inexpensive (maybe $2 total) and fun. From start to finish it took an hour, with the majority of the time being spent on attaching the gems. The hardest part was trying to take a pic of myself in the shirt...I guess I could have waited for my husband to get home!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Goodies in The Mail

Another week out of town for me and my hunny, except this time I came home to a lovely box from Fabric.com! They had a big sale a few days before I left and there were several things that I had my eye on.

First, Lila Tueller's Funked Out Peasant Blouse (the only thing I bought that wasn't on sale). I've wanted to buy it for some time now, but wanted to wait until I was buying fabric online for the sake of shipping costs. I can't wait to make this blouse!

Since I was buying the pattern, then I needed some fabric to make it and there was a couple of Heather Bailey prints on sale (from her Freshcut line). I don't usually see her fabric marked down, so I snatched that up quickly.

The other fabrics included two prints from Anna Maria Horner's Chocolate Lollipop line and two prints from Anna Griffin's Peyton Collection line (the pink & green faux Alligator). I have plans for all the fabric...more on that soon.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Little Babette

As mentioned in a previous post, I am helping with costumes for Beauty & The Beast. I've been out of town and running around like a mad woman leaving little time to work on costumes. There is a month until opening night, so I'm trying to get as much done in the next week as I can. Here is a pic of Babette's basic costume. It is hard to get a pic using hangers, instead of a body or form!

The dress is a corset style (in the back). I want to add a few details, like white sequin trim on the bodice. I still need to make a head piece, cuffs and skirt w/feathers. The feather skirt will go just above the knees under the dress, so it can be an easy transformation from fantasy character to human. There will be two sets of cuffs and most likely two head/hair pieces. It is so much fun, especially with the new fancy sewing machine my husband got me!

Home Spa #1

Need some R&R? I've had such an adventurous week that I know I do! Last month, for a young women's church activity, I taught the girls how to make some home spa treatments. One of my favorites was the bath cookies. I decided to add some dried lavender (from my garden). The end result was fragrant and yummy looking cookies! If you are familiar with other bath cookies, like from Lush, expect this recipe to produce a different kind of cookie. When you are ready to use, crumble 1-2 cookies while you draw your bath.

2 cups finely ground sea salt
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 T light oil
1 tsp vitamin E oil
2 eggs
5-6 drops essential oil of your choice

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Combine all the listed ingredients and form into a dough. Using a teaspoon or so of dough at a time, roll it gently in the palm of your hand until it forms a ball. Form all dough into one teaspoon balls, and gently place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Consider sprinkling the bath balls with herbs, flower petals, cloves, citrus zest and similar aromatic ingredients. Bake your bath cookies for ten minutes, until they are lightly browned. Do not over bake. Allow the bath cookies to cool completely. To use, Drop 1 or 2 cookies into a warm bath and allow to dissolve. Yield: 24 cookies, enough for 12 baths.

**I highly recommend visiting SPA INDEX for other spa treatment recipes.**